Taxpayer group advises cities to abandon UAMPS nuclear project

Members of the Logan City Council vote 4 to 1 Tuesday to withdraw from partnership in an increasingly expensive nuclear power project.

A statement issued by the tax watchdog group the Utah Taxpayers Association is asking Utah cities that, while the opportunity exists, to withdraw from plans to invest with taxpayer dollars in what is seen as an experiment in nuclear energy – small modular nuclear energy facilities that could perhaps provide power to entities as small as a city. On KVNU’s For the People program on Monday, Rusty Cannon from the taxpayer group explained how they came to their decision.

“We started looking at this issue months ago, and the more we looked into it we started to scratch our heads and do more analysis and try to do as much digging as we could. That’s resulted in a long meeting or two that we’ve had with UAMPS and some others to get as much information as we can. They operate under an exemption from the Utah Open Meetings Laws and so the actual meetings where the members of UAMP are talking about this, it’s not open to the public. But when the various city councils talk about it themselves, that is public,” he said.

Logan City is one of those cities considering the power option. Cannon said other than public meetings it has been tough to find information. He said they dug into it for several months and finally came to the conclusion that this just needs to be further examined. He said when they looked at it they think the right choice for cities is to back out.

“To give you a bit of background, essentially this project began way back in 2008, and it’s our understanding the plan was at the time to have power online by about 2016. Well, here we are in 2020, they still have no approval from the NRC, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and as it stands right now these cities have three off-ramps left.  Then they have to affirmatively vote to take one of these off-ramps or they automatically go into the next phase of the contracts.”

He said the taxpayers association is not against nuclear energy and that it’s a noble goal, but this project has kept getting delayed while the costs continue to climb, and it just doesn’t make sense.

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