2024 Advanced Nuclear in the West Workshop

Background

The Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) hosted its 2024 Advanced Nuclear in the West Workshop on May 29-20, in Boise, Idaho. WIEB brought together utility regulators, state energy office officials, scientists, national laboratories, and industry experts from the U.S. and Canada to explore the potential for advanced nuclear power in the Western Interconnection. Attendees spent two days discussing and sharing information on advanced nuclear power and ended with an interactive, scenario-based workshop.

Purpose

The purpose of this project was to convene western state and provincial policymakers, regulators, subject matter experts, and utility representatives to explore the possibilities and challenges surrounding the deployment of advanced nuclear power in the Western Interconnection. This topic is particularly relevant to the West because many of the new small modular reactor (SMR) and other advanced nuclear projects are being proposed in Western state locations. The Fall 2023 Joint CREPC-WIRAB Meeting included a session on SMRs in the West and Canada, which was a good jumping off point for the more in-depth Workshop. WIEB staff organized the in-person advanced Nuclear in the West Workshop in Boise, Idaho in May 2024 to continue this conversation. The agenda took attendees through a holistic overview of the relevant facets of nuclear power, starting with its history in the West, then moving through its regulatory framework, economic dimensions, waste issues, deployment scenarios, and ending with a look at the international sphere. With this background in place, attendees were then put into small groups, assigned a role (utility commissioner, utility CEO), and asked to evaluate whether they would approve or reject a hypothetical small modular reactor project based on a life-like scenario. All attendees then engaged in a moderated discussion about their hypothetical decisions and what drove them, drawing on the topics that had been discussed over the past two days.

Workshop Agenda