Utah Cities Set To Be First With Modular Nuclear Energy, Environmentalists Raise Concerns

Jun 30, 2019

If everything continues as planned, more than 30 communities in Utah will be at least partly nuclear powered by 2027. The Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, or UAMPS, a cooperative of municipal energy leaders, has contracted to be the first in the world to try out a Modular Nuclear Reactor. That's a small nuclear reactor that is, in theory, safer and more efficient than the traditional reactor. For Utah’s environmentalists, however, this project brings more problems than solutions. 

“My biggest concern is the health of future generations being affected by the waste, as well as the cost," said Hannah Mae Popper, a grassroots intern with the environmental non profit, HEAL Utah. "I think a hit in the economic system here could be really detrimental to Logan’s financial process in the next 20, 30 years and could really impact the next generation for how they are able to make money and live off affordable power here.”

 

HEAL Utah held an information session in Logan Wednesday night, to explain why they believe the reactor, to be built in Idaho Falls, is too expensive and too risky. 

Proponents of the modular reactor say it is the most viable carbon free option on the market. HEAL argues, however, the nuclear waste generated, amount of water used, and cost to consumers is far greater than any carbonless incentives.

To Carol and Bernie Foht, residents from Providence, the reactors are risky and expensive.

“Why would anybody go after something that hasn’t been tested?" Carol asked. "How many other things out there have not been tested or regulated? Everything from your food, what you eat what you drink is regulated, then they come up with something as dangerous as this and there’s no regulation," said Bernie.

More than 20 of UAMPS communities have signed the first phase of the deal and are expected to vote on the second phase this summer.