As CEO/general manager of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, I wish to correct errors contained in a July 31 letter from a known critic of nuclear power generation who questioned the wisdom of UAMPS’ public power agencies developing a nonpolluting, carbon-free, small modular nuclear reactor project.
The letter writer has misportrayed the facts of this non-greenhouse-gas-emitting resource, ignoring the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s rigorous process to grant design certification. The NuScale small modular reactor has successfully completed the first year of the four-year review process, including an NRC finding that this innovative reactor will be dramatically safer and simpler than traditional large reactors. The Obama and Trump administrations have strongly endorsed this project, providing significant financial support and technical expertise.
Contrary to the letter’s assertions, the project is not being presented “as if its design is fully tested and will be ready to produce power by 2026.” As the author fully understands, the review process is proceeding in a transparent and factual manner so that aging coal plants can be replaced with carbon-free generation in the 2026 time frame. The ability to use a clean, dispatchable generation source will also allow the integration of large amounts of solar and wind generation, all at a cost that is competitive with natural gas generation and renewables.
UAMPS members need clean, safe, stable electric supply for a growing population. We are confident this project can be constructed on time and within budget.
Douglas Hunter, Salt Lake City
CEO & General Manager, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems