Public Utility Awards EM’s Idaho Site Contractor for Energy Conservation

EM’s main cleanup contractor at the Idaho Site received nearly a quarter-million dollars in incentive checks from Idaho Power’s Custom Efficiency program for implementing energy-conservation ideas at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC).

The publicly owned utility gave CH2M-WG Idaho (CWI) nearly $200,000 for installing energy-efficient LED lights in a large, industrial warehouse and for optimizing INTEC’s facility exhaust and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. LED bulbs provide several times more light than traditional lamps, making them safer for personnel to complete their work.

INTEC’s annual savings for these projects total 1.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity, which is enough to light and heat 130 homes, and 79,000 gallons of diesel — more than $300,000 in annual expenses.

Idaho Power also gave CWI $50,000 for replacing more than 50 standard lights in a large, crane maintenance area and equipment decontamination room with 31 more LED lights. With this switch, INTEC saves nearly $25,000 a year in electricity costs.

In addition to saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in energy costs, the light-replacement projects have an added benefit. The Custom Efficiency program is a cash-incentive program for large commercial and industrial customers that undertake complex projects to improve efficiency of electrical systems or processes. The energy-incentive checks that CWI receives, now totaling more than $600,000 over the last three years, are used to reinvest in ongoing projects or activities.

INTEC was built in the early 1950s to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and recover unused uranium, an endeavor that resulted in the construction of scores of massive buildings and support equipment needing to be heated and cooled in the harsh Arco Desert. After that mission ended in 1992, INTEC became the site’s main spent nuclear fuel storage facility and also continued to manage both liquid and solid radioactive waste resulting from its reprocessing operations.