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Oregon regulators have doubts about Natrium nuclear schedule for Kemmerer

Oregon regulators question nuclear schedule for Kemmerer

Public utility officials in Oregon say they support PacifiCorp’s plan to add the Natrium plant to its power fleet, but declined to formally recognize it as a viable project this early.

by Dustin BleizefferApril 13, 2022  TerraPower’s Natrium nuclear power plant in Kemmerer might help Oregon accomplish its climate action plan by helping to replace coal power, but state regulators, concerned by the project’s unprecedented timeline, aren’t yet willing to bet on it. TerraPower’s Natrium nuclear power plant in Kemmerer might help Oregon accomplish its climate action plan by helping to replace coal power, but state regulators, concerned by the project’s unprecedented timeline, aren’t yet willing to bet on it.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission in March declined to formally acknowledge PacifiCorp’s plans for Natrium to be a part of its future electrical generation portfolio.

“This project is just so early that we don’t really feel like we can give it that kind of weight,” Oregon PUC Commissioner Mark Thompson said. “That’s not because PacifiCorp has done something wrong. I just think it’s just not knowable. It’s so early on.”

The commission approved the balance of PacifiCorp’s “integrated resource plan” for how it will meet future power needs for its Oregon customers. Commissioners said they remain open to including Natrium in future filings from PacifiCorp.

Why it matters

Natrium skeptics have noted that crucial federal funding for the project is tied to meeting aggressive deadlines. The commission’s decision appears to be the first instance of a regulatory body acting on similar concerns. 

PacifiCorp, which operates as Rocky Mountain Power in Wyoming, is a regulated utility providing electrical power to customers in six western states, including Oregon. State public utility authorities must approve plans for new electrical generation facilities before a utility is allowed to tap ratepayers to cover the cost………….

“PacifiCorp and TerraPower understand that PacifiCorp will only move forward if the Natrium demonstration project brings value to our customers,” PacifiCorp spokeswoman Tiffany Erickson said. https://wyofile.com/oregon-regulators-question-nuclear-schedule-for-kemmerer/

April 14, 2022 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, safety, USA

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