Small modular nuclear reactors and the potential for manufacturing them in the Tri-City area will be discussed as a new state legislative task force meets Sept. 25. in Pasco.
The Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee also will meet in Pasco that day.
The Legislative Joint Select Task Force on Nuclear Energy will hear from speakers pro and con on small modular nuclear reactors at its meeting and has set aside 45 minutes to hear public comment.
The manufacture of small nuclear modular reactors appears to be a good fit for the state, said Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, chairman of the task force. And the Tri-City area has the expertise and long nuclear history for the project, he said.
The task force was created during the 2014 legislative session to study nuclear power and is required to consider "the greatest amount of environmental benefit for each dollar spent based on the life-cycle cost of any nuclear power technology."
It is primarily focusing on small, modular nuclear reactors. The reactors are proposed to be manufactured in modules and then shipped to where they will be used, with additional modules added as demand for electricity production increases.
This will be the first of two meetings the task force is expected to hold in the Tri-City area before reporting back to the Legislature by Dec. 1.
The agenda includes speakers from the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy and the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group. Energy Northwest is expected to give an overview of challenges and opportunities for nuclear generation in the Pacific Northwest, and NuScale Power, which is developing a small modular nuclear reactor, will provide information.
The Tri-City Development Council, Columbia Basin College, Washington State University, the Franklin Public Utility District and the Washington Building Trades also are expected to have speakers on the agenda.
Those speakers will be countered by a panel on unsolved problems with nuclear power, with the Oregon and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility and state Rep. Gerald Pollet, D-Seattle, expected to speak. Pollet is the executive director of Heart of America Northwest.
The task force will meet from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express, 4525 Convention Place, Pasco, near the TRAC center. Public comment is scheduled for 3:45 p.m.
The public also may attend the Senate committee meeting at the same location from 8:30 a.m. to noon and a portion of the meeting will be opened for public comment.
On the agenda is a presentation by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland on hydrogen fuel cells, a report on Gov. Jay Inslee's Carbon Emissions Reduction Task Force and information on Energy Northwest's demand response pilot project announced last week.
-- Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @HanfordNews