Study to look at Washington sites for small nuclear reactors
A new study championed by Washington state Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, will identify promising sites for small modular nuclear reactor operations in the state.
The Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council signed a contract with international company Golder Associates to conduct the study, the state announced Friday.
Brown was unable to get House approval this year for a bill to support the manufacturing of the small reactors, although the Senate passed the bill in late June. But she did succeed in getting $176,000 included in the state’s operating budget for 2015-17 to pay for the study.
“We are in a race with other states to get the technology located in our state and most importantly, the supply chain for manufacturing,” Brown said Friday.
There is interest in the Tri-Cities to position the community as a center for assembling or manufacturing the small nuclear plants to be shipped around the world, including to Asia. The reactors are proposed to be manufactured in modules and then shipped to where they will be used, with additional modules added as demand for electricity production increases.
The Tri-Cities has the educated and trained workforce for nuclear work, Brown said.
The bill also impacts other parts of the state, Brown said. A Vancouver, Wash., company has manufactured key parts for a mockup plant for NuScale Power of Oregon, which is developing a small modular reactor.
NuScale is working with Utah Associated Municipal Power systems and Energy Northwest in Richland to operate its first small reactor, likely in Idaho.