The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will request the Los Alamos County Council to authorize $63,000 to continue participation in the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) through March 2020. Scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17, the Council will meet in Council Chambers at 1000 Central Ave., Los Alamos, NM.
The CFPP is a next-generation nuclear power plant that will utilize small modular reactor technology and is planned to be constructed at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). DPU began exploring the project to address future electrical energy resources and meet a BPU adopted goal to be a carbon-free electrical energy provider by 2040. Joining the project in 2015, DPU initially subscribed for 16 megawatts, later reduced to 8 megawatts, with the caveat that the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and Council would have various off-ramps to exit the project if it were determined to no longer be viable.
The proposed 600MW nuclear facility project which is expected to be operational by 2027, is administered through the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS). DPU is one of 47 municipally-owned electricity providers that comprise UAMPS and one of 35 members that are participating in the CFPP.
In December 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy announced in a press release an agreement to support the CFPP through its intent to draw from two of the small modular reactors. One module is to be designated strictly for research activities as part of the Joint Use Modular Plant or JUMP program and will represent one-twelfth of the estimated $4.2 billion project cost. The second may be used in a Power Purchase Agreement to provide power to the INL.
Due to congressional delays to the DOE budget however, the terms and conditions of the JUMP power sales agreement with UAMPS are on hold until funds can be appropriated. UAMPS is therefore requesting CFPP participants to fund the project through March 31, 2020. As a cautionary measure, a portion of this funding will be used to complete a value engineering analysis to validate the project’s target price of $55/megawatt hour. Los Alamos County’s obligation is $52,500 plus contingency of $10,500 for a total of $63,000.
Members of the BPU approved the continuation funding for the CFPP budget at a December 6 meeting held in Council Chambers at 11:30 a.m. The decision to exit the CFPP now or fund the project until March 2020 with future off-ramps will be determined by the County Council on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019 at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers.
Information on the County’s involvement in the CFPP is available on the County website at https://rebrand.ly/DPU-CFPP.