Logan Mayor Holly Daines wants to pull out of a plan to support construction of a small modular nuclear reactor just north of Idaho Falls, but many council members are interested in continuing project participation, potentially at a lower megawatt amount.
“This is a new project,” Daines said. “No one has ever done it before. If I was a venture capitalist risking private capital, it’s a pretty interesting project. But because it is taxpayer money, I personally feel it is too much risk.”
At 30 megawatts of power, Logan is by far the largest participant in the project coordinated by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, according to Daines.
This high megawatt amount is part of what Daines said worries her.
Councilman Herm Olsen wants to continue participation in the agreement as a way to diversify the city’s energy portfolio.
“I’d like to stay in at a reasonably high level,” Olsen said. “I say 20 megawatts.”
Councilwoman Jeannie Simmonds also wants to continue with the plan.
“I think we need to plan well into the future, and this is a solid, noncarbon energy for the city of Logan,” Simmonds said. “It’s not for tomorrow. It’s not for 10 years from now, maybe 20.”
Daines is the one who will officially sign the agreement with UAMPS to continue the agreement. She said she will make her decision based on what the majority of the council wants.
If participation is continued, Daines suggested dropping the involvement amount to 5 megawatts.
“It gives us a little bit of a toe in, but it certainly reduces our risk substantially,” Daines said.
Daines said there is not a hard deadline for the city to withdraw by, however as a courtesy to UAMPS, she does want to let them know as soon as possible.
The city has been in the project for a while and will have one more opportunity to withdraw at a future point, Simmonds said. The timeline for that is not clear yet.
The city’s involvement has included financial investment, and Logan will not get any money back if they withdraw.
Municipal Council members want to continue discussion on the issue and possibly hold a public hearing before making a final decision on this stage of the agreement.