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Collaborative Study Shows Economic Boost from Eastern Idaho Reactor Plan

Construction of an electric power generation facility in eastern Idaho that would utilize a group of small modular reactors could significantly boost the regional and state economies and increase U.S. carbon-free energy development, according to an economic impact study completed by the University of Idaho and Boise State University.

The study looks at the economic impact of a 720-megawatt power facility using 12 small modular nuclear reactors at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) site in southeast Idaho during the project’s four-year construction, as well as the ongoing impacts over its 40-year operations period.

The Idaho Policy Institute at Boise State and the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho completed the study at the request of economic development and industry groups. It notes the project would complement research activities at INL and enhance nuclear energy-related research and development in Idaho.

“Providing clear economic data to help policymakers and businesses make sound decisions is a critically important role of our policy research centers,” said Geoffrey Black, professor of economics in the College of Business and Economics at Boise State.

Local labor income is anticipated to grow by $644 million and increase Idaho’s gross domestic product by more than $1 billion over the four-year building period, according to the study. Once the facility is built, ongoing operations of the plant could add $48 million to local labor income each year over the plant’s 40-year operations period.

Construction also could increase state and local tax revenues by nearly $37 million and raise federal tax revenues by more than $142 million during the four years. Operations could add nearly $3 million to local and state tax revenues annually and nearly $11 million to federal tax revenues annually.

“Working together across the state and across institutions enabled us to perform a comprehensive analysis of the importance of this facility to eastern Idaho and the state,” said Steven Peterson, associate clinical professor of economics in the College of Business and Economics at U of I.

The study was commissioned by Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho in conjunction with NuScale Power LLC, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, INL, Fluor and Idaho Falls Power. The project is led by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems along with NuScale Power LLC.

Boise State’s Idaho Policy Institute contracts with public, private and nonprofit organizations as an objective resource for policymakers on research questions that include economic and statistical analysis in a variety of fields.

The McClure Center conducts research and provides reliable, nonpartisan information on critical issues facing the state, region, nation and world.