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(Idaho Falls, ID) -- The City of Idaho Falls joined a delegation from Idaho last week travelling to Waynesboro, Georgia, the home of Plant Vogtle. When complete, Plant Vogtle, units 3 and 4, will be the first new nuclear units built in the United States in the last three decades.
These two new units at Vogtle have generated more than 8,000 onsite jobs during construction and will result in 800 high-paying permanent jobs once the units are in full operation. Hosting the visit was Molly Olson, the Executive Director of the Development Authority of Burke County.
Joining the Mayor on the visit was the Director of Idaho Falls Power, and representatives from the Idaho National Laboratory, the College of Eastern Idaho, Idaho State University, Idaho Commerce, the Idaho Workforce Development Council, and Economic Development..
“The Idaho delegation included 12 of us with a vested interested in learning from community and business leaders in Georgia who helped prepare for the Plant Vogtle project,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “Building Eastern Idaho talent and infrastructure, as well as a business ecosystem to support these projects is critical to bringing Idaho’s projects to the finish line.”
Idaho National Laboratory in Eastern Idaho is the selected site for NuScale to build twelve small modular reactors which will be operational by 2026. In addition, Eastern Idaho may also be selected as the home for a new test reactor, the versatile test reactor, and possibly a microreactor. Location decisions for these two reactors are pending further review.
“We have many best practices to take back to Idaho and to enhance programs in education, training, security, transportation, housing, and the INL supply chain for new nuclear projects,” said Amy Lientz, Director of Supply Chain for Energy at Idaho National Laboratory.
Both the College of Eastern Idaho and the Energy Systems Education and Technology Center at Idaho State University participated. Rick Aman, President of CEI, remarked “We were given a glimpse into our future and we experienced a first-hand a vision of significant promise laced with some reality. Given the mission and role of a community college, College of Eastern Idaho takes note that we need to start preparation immediately.”
“Gaining knowledge and seeing real examples as to how to build a strong economy around carbon free energy was an honor. Continued conversations will be important as Idaho moves forward on its’ energy projects,” said Teresa McKnight, CEO of Regional Economic Development of Eastern Idaho.
Also attending for CEI was Lori Barber, Vice President of Curriculum. Lori noted, “The collaboration between the technical colleges and universities to deliver non-credit, certificate, and credit/degree programs was inspiring. They leveraged the power of working together to secure grants, train students for living wage jobs, and meet the needs of regional employers. It’s a model we should replicate.”
“Both communities recognize the importance and significance of the opportunity in front of us to advance nuclear projects in our country. Making these key contacts we incredibly valuable. Our Idaho delegation hopes to return the favor and host business and community leaders from Georgia to Idaho to exchange still more ideas to help with preparations for a growing nuclear industry,” said Mayor Casper of Idaho Falls. “What we do here matters for the entire industry and we intend to get it right.”
The January 24 visit was a full day experience and additional information from the trip will be available in the coming weeks.
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For more information or to schedule an interview with City of Idaho Falls staff, please contact Bud Cranor, Public Information Officer for the City of Idaho Falls at 208-612-8306.
PHOTO CREDIT: "Idaho visitors at Construction Site at Plant Vogtle." Photo taken by Joel A. Leopard, Communications Coordinator, Vogtle Energy Education Center