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A proposal to build 12 small modular nuclear reactors at the U.S. Department of Energy’s desert site west of Idaho Falls could provide a significant boost to the local economy, according to a recent study from the University of Idaho and Boise State University.

NuScale Power is looking to build the 720-megawatt facility and is going through the federal permitting process now. Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems is working with NuScale, as it would help provide power to its member cities, in addition to providing power to and helping research at Idaho National Laboratory. Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho commissioned the study, along with NuScale, UAMPS, INL, Idaho Falls Power, and Idaho Cleanup Project contractor Fluor.

Construction is expected to start in the mid-2020s. The study, which was done by the Idaho Policy Institute at BSU and the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the U of I, predicts local labor income will grow by $644 million during the four-year construction period, increasing the state’s gross domestic product by more than $1 billion. Once the plant is built, ongoing operations could add $48 million a year to local labor income over 40 years.

Construction also is expected to boost state and local tax revenues by almost $37 million, and federal taxes by more than $142 million, over the four years. Once it is done, operations could add almost $3 million a year to state and local tax revenue and almost $11 million to federal revenue.

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