NuScale Small Modular Reactor

Michael Downs, NuScale Senior Reactor Operator, speaks to audience members about NuScale’s small modular reactor at the Idaho Falls Power Energy Center on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Each SMR would produce 60 megawatts and each reactor facility would house 12 SMRs to generate 720 megawatts.

BOISE — Six Idaho Falls-area lawmakers are sponsoring a resolution to "recognize nuclear power as a significant emissions-free energy resource" and laud the work being done at Idaho National Laboratory.

Reps. Wendy Horman and Barbara Ehardt, Republicans who represent districts 30 and 33 respectively, introduced it into the House Environment, Energy and Technology Committee on Thursday, and it is being co-sponsored by the other four lawmakers from those districts. The committee voted to send it directly to the full House, which is fairly common with resolutions. (Bills come back for a committee hearing, except occasionally toward the end of the session when something is being rushed.)

Ehardt, who grew up in Idaho Falls and whose grandparents lived in Moore near the U.S. Department of Energy's desert site, told the committee about her experiences around INL growing up, as well as her work when she was on the Idaho Falls City Council to land the NuScale Power small modular reactor project. The 12 small reactors, which are going through the permitting process now and are expected to come online in the mid-2020s if things stay on schedule, would provide some additional research capacity to INL and electricity to the city of Idaho Falls and other members of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems.

"I feel like it is incredibly important to affirm as legislators, our support of not just nuclear power but also of the (small modular reactor) project that has been secured with both the city of Idaho Falls as well as the INL," Ehardt said in an email.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.