Small modular reactors considered for proposed nuclear site in Idaho

By Dorothy Davis 

Four B&W mPower nuclear reactors configured as a 500 MW nuclear power plant. Illustration, Babcock & Wilcox.

Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. (AEHI) announced it is considering the use of small modular reactors (SMRs) at its proposed nuclear power plant site in Idaho. 

AEHI is currently seeking to build a standard scale nuclear power plant on a 5,300 acre parcel in Payette County, Idaho. The company has already marked several milestones for the proposed project, beginning with a final rezone approval from Payette County Commissioners in June 2011, followed by a contract with engineering firm ENERCON and the hiring of J. Peter Honeysett as Director of Nuclear Projects.

"This would not necessarily replace our plans to build a large-scale reactor on the proposed site, but there may be an opportunity to build one or more years in advance of the larger reactor,” said Don Gillispie, AEHI CEO in a press release. 

SMRs are part of a new generation of nuclear power plants defined by the industry as any reactor with an output of less than 500 MWe. Most SMRs are designed to be manufactured and brought on site fully constructed, allowing for less up front capital investment and heightened nuclear materials security.
 
AEHI said several SMR designs were being reviewed including designs from Babcock & Wilcox, Westinghouse, NuScale Power and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI). 

"We are seriously reviewing these options. SMR designs may give the company the flexibility it needs in the short term, while at the same time providing a very lucrative addition to AEHI's long-term plans," said Gillispie.



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