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Council Approves Investment in Nuclear Energy Project in Murray City

According to the article published in The Salt Lake Tribune, Murray City Council votes in favor of nuclear energy project in the city.

August 23, 2018: The City Council of Murray voted 4-1 to continue its investment in exploring the U.S’ first Small Modular Nuclear Reactor (SMR), owing to a growing need to replace coal in its power portfolio in the future. Murray is a member of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS). UAMPS is a consortium of municipally owned power systems in Utah and several other Western states. The members of the consortium partnered with NuScale Power, a company focused R&D of nuclear energy. The Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls was decided as the destination for proposed 12-module plant that could power Utah’s cities from hundreds of miles away.

According to a report published in Bloomberg New Energy Finance in June, 2018 issue, coal as an option for power generation would be hardly used over the next 30 years. The City Council has approved an additional $15,000 investment on August 21, 2018. With this, the overall investment was $30,000 for the Carbon Free Power Project to explore nuclear energy. However, the council has plenty of opportunities to bail out from the project. NuScale, in order to retain the project promised to reimburse 100 % of the costs incurred since November 2017. As of now, 28 municipalities have signed sales contracts for the project, of which 23 are in in Utah. The cities are expected to receive power from the SMR in around 2026 as the project is in the exploratory phase.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission currently reviewed reactor design of NuScale. Currently, Murray receives around 43% of its power from coal. HEAL Utah, a clean-air advocacy group, is against the project and urged the council not to recommit funds to the project, owing to large monetary investment and environmental concerns around safe disposal of nuclear waste. The council stated that the provision of having a zero-emissions resource is stronger than the possible risks.