Research: SMR Project could have huge economic impact

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A University of Idaho and Boise State University study indicates the Small Modular Reactor project at the Idaho National Laboratory site could have a major economic impact in eastern Idaho.

The project would utilize a group of 12 small reactors for energy production and research purposes.

The study looked at the economic impact of a 720-megawatt power facility at the INL site during the project's four-year construction and the ongoing impacts of operation over a 40-year period.

According to the study, local labor income would grow to $644 million and increase Idaho's gross domestic product by more than $1 billion over four years of construction. Once built, ongoing operations could add $48 million to local labor income each year over its 40-years of operation.

The study, completed by the Idaho Policy Institute at Boise State and the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the U of I, also looked a construction impacts.  It found that work could increase state and local tax revenues by nearly $37 million and raise federal tax revenues by more than $142 million during the four year period. 

Once built, opertions could add nearly $3 million to local and state tax revenues annually and nearly $11 million to federal tax revenues annually.

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

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

The study will be available soon here.

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