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EMA - Emerging Energy Markets Analysis Initiative
INL - Idaho National Laboratory
WEA - Wyoming Energy Authority
National Energy Technology Laboratory
SER hosts webinar discussions on important and timely topics dealing with energy production
and policy in Wyoming. Archived recordings of nuclear webinar presentations and accompanying
slides are posted here to serve as a continuing resource for interested parties.
The objective of the NERC White Paper Series is to share preliminary research conducted
on nuclear-related energy issues in Wyoming as they emerge to serve as a public resource.
The authors of the papers are solely responsible for the content of their contributions.
This summary provides an overview of the state and federal statutes that are applicable
to siting a nuclear facility in Wyoming, including the taxation of nuclear energy,
as well as the sale of electricity generated from a nuclear facility.
The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) was passed in response
to the energy crisis of the 1970s and was intended to encourage electricity conservation
and domestic energy production to reduce reliance on foreign energy sources. To benefit
from PURPA, nuclear microreactors must be Qualifying Facilities. Nuclear fuel use
does not meet the fuel use criteria to qualify as a “small power production” facility
under PURPA. See 18 C.F.R. § 292.204(b). Accordingly, for a nuclear microreactor to
qualify under PURPA, it would need to be operated as a “cogeneration facility” producing
not only electricity but also producing heat or “useful thermal energy” for use with
other systems and applications.
For nuclear energy to be adopted in Wyoming, either as microreactors embedded in industrial
systems or as part of zero-carbon energy hubs, residents of the state will need to
be supportive of having nuclear energy generation in their state and/or near there
communities. Public disapproval can stymie energy development projects, making the
permitting process slow, costly, and ultimately unsuccessful in some cases. While
microreactors have several potential benefits over conventional carbon-emitting forms
of energy (such as natural gas or diesel) and over renewables that typically require
large amounts of land (such as wind and solar), nuclear energy has historically suffered
from negative public perceptions, which may make industries hesitant to invest in
them. For industries to feel confident in adopting microreactor technology, it is
important to understand Wyoming residents’ current perceptions of energy in general,
their perceptions of nuclear energy in particular, their desires for the future of
their communities and the future of Wyoming, and what they value most about Wyoming.
To do these, we explore three recent studies of Wyoming residents’ perceptions, desires,
and values to determine what opportunities and barriers they present to adoption of
nuclear technologies in Wyoming.
Wyoming may be well-suited for the siting of nuclear facilities, including microreactors,
due to its open spaces and its largely favorable state and local regulatory environment.
Under state law, nuclear projects may require approval from the Industrial Siting
Council approval and could be subject to county and city zoning laws. Accordingly,
local buy-in is a critical aspect for the success of any nuclear facility project.
In recent years many states have adopted various renewable and clean energy portfolio
standards, low carbon fuel standards and greenhouse gas emissions’ limitations. These
electric market regulatory restrictions impact the share of generation capacity available
to various energy sources utilized in such states and, as a result, have an impact
on electricity generated in and imported from other states.