Energy Northwest enters MOU tied to advanced reactor

Terrestrial Energy USA and Energy Northwest recently announced that they have reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the terms of the possible siting, construction and operation of an Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR), at one of its candidate sites, the Idaho National Laboratory in southeastern Idaho.

Mike Paoli, a spokesman for Energy Northwest says, “We initially met with Terrestrial Energy back in 2015. Right now, we’re focused on advising Terrestrial as they assess a site for commercial operation. We’re standing by and are excited to advise as needed on any aspect related to deploying the IMSR power plant. This includes advice on plant design, licensing, fabrication, construction planning, safety, cost, and schedule targets, as well as NRC-certified training programs.” 

Energy Northwest is a public power joint action agency based in Richland, Washington.

According to Terrestrial Energy USA, which is a subsidiary of Terrestrial Energy, based in Canada, “The IMSR is an advanced reactor and represents true innovation in cost and functionality. It will provide clean, convenient and cost-competitive heat for many industrial applications, including electric power provision and heat for industrial processes, such as chemical synthesis and desalination. The IMSR extends the applicability of nuclear energy far beyond its current footprint in on-grid electric power markets.” 

According to Terrestrial, its IMSR can be built in four years for less than $1 billion. Terrestrial said, “In electric power markets, IMSR power plants can dispatch power at under US $50 per megawatt-hour (levelized). This is cost-competitive with natural gas and coal. In industrial heat markets, IMSR plants are cost-competitive with natural gas and heating oil; they provide an in-furnace cost of heat of less than US $6 per MMBtu, within US $1 of North American in-furnace natural gas costs.”

Although site selection is moving forward, the design for the IMSR still needs to be certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Additional details about the IMSR technology are available here.

Energy Northwest involved with SMR project

Energy Northwest is involved with a small modular reactor project with NuScale Power and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems.

The first commercial 12-module NuScale power plant is planned to be built on the site of the Idaho National Laboratory.

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems in 2016 took a step forward in the development of its Carbon Free Power Project by identifying a preferred site within the boundary of the Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory site near Idaho Falls, Idaho. The site selection process was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Energy.

The Utah public power agency, which provides electricity at wholesale to more than 40 community-owned electric utilities in the Intermountain West, previously noted that it is studying the feasibility of deploying up to 12 small modular reactors at the Idaho site. One of its partners on the project is NuScale Power.

Formal MOUs with both UAMPS and Terrestrial Energy USA provide Energy Northwest with the first right of offer to operate the planned reactors.