Council OKs DPU’s Participation In Carbon Free Power Project Study Phase Siting Agreement

DPU Manager im Glasco, right, and Deputy Manager Steve Cummins brief Council this evening on the Carbon Free Power Project Study Phase Siting Agreement. Print Screen/LADP

Staff Report

Los Alamos County Council agreed 7-0 this evening that the Board of Public Utilities approve the Carbon Free Power Project Study Phase Siting Agreement with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems in an amount not to exceed $145,540, plus applicable gross receipts tax.


Los Alamos County became a member of the Utah Associated Power Systems (UAMPS) and specifically a participant in the Resource Project on April 16, 2014.  DPU staff has been following the development of the Carbon Free Power Project (“Project”), which is a projected 600MW small modular reactor (SMR) facility. 

As it is being designed, the facility would house up to twelve NuScale nuclear power modules, each capable of generating up to fifty megawatts of electric power. The Project is under consideration by LAC as a potential replacement base load power resource after retirement of the County’s coal generation assets as early as 2022.

The Department of Energy (DOE) received appropriations for licensing technical support for SMR commercialization by a utility. NuScales’s technology, with UAMPS as a utility partner, has been identified by DOE as eligible recipients for SMR licensing technical support. More specifically, cost-share support for UAMPS site permitting activities and combined construction and operation license activities are all eligible. 

NuScale and DOE will enter into a cost share agreement where the funds will be passed through to UAMPS (“the Utility”) for the recovery of up to 50 percent of the CFPP site permitting activities and combined construction and operation license activities.

The first phase of the Project is the Study Phase for site permitting activities. Idaho National Laboratory has initially been chosen as the primary site for locating the SMR facility. Budget for the first phase is estimated to be $5.2 million; UAMPS will fund $2.6 million with the DOE matching grant covering the remainder.

LAC is entitled to 1.6179 percent or 9.71 MWs of the Project based on the initial allocation among Resource Project Members and a fully subscribed 600 MWs of capacity. UAMPS performed a straw poll among the Resources Project Members asking for their desired capacity in the project. The members’ desired capacity, not including LAC, totaled 327.4 MWs. 

Based on the Los Alamos Power Pool (LAPP), Power Supply Study and the Future Energy Resources Committee recommendations, DPU is requesting a 16 MW capacity interest in the CFPP for the Study Phase Siting Agreement.

The total subscription in the project including LAC is 343.4 MWs. The remaining 256.6 MWs are considered orphan site shares. UAMPS staff will offer the orphan site shares to other UAMPS members and non-UAMPS entities following the open enrollment period.

The LAPP will commit to an expenditure in the amount of $145,540 for this initial Siting Phase work, which includes a 20 percent contingency. A participant can provide notice of withdrawal if the project budget exceeds the original budget by more than 20 percent.

Those participants who join the project by Sept. 1, 2015, referred to as the open enrollment period, will take advantage of the DOE matching grant for phase 1 activities, but also bear the risk if the project terminates.

Following the completion of the phase 1 activities, each participant has the option to exit the project if it is no longer deemed economical or prudent for their customer base. Participants also will have the option to acquire additional capacity in the CFPP if available, by purchasing site shares from another participant or orphan site shares.