Utility regulators have clarified that Utah's energy plans must consider the possibility of new nuclear power – a positive development for a company planning to build the first commercial reactor in the state.

Blue Castle Holdings on Thursday published a letter from the chairman of Utah's Public Service Commission stating, "The existing Integrated Resource Plan process, the 'IRP,' must consider all resource energy development, including nuclear. Regardless of the resource, economic data and expert evidence guide the selection of the most prudent resources."

The statement follows recent efforts in the state Legislature to change electric utility rules on rate recovery and planning for new power sources to accommodate the lengthy process of developing a nuclear plant. In a release, BCH CEO Aaron Tilton said, "Before this statement from the PSC, it was unclear to us whether new nuclear could be reasonably included in the relatively short implementation process of the IRP. After further review of the current law, the PSC has determined that the process already exists to accommodate the longer nuclear development time frame."

The company is conducting early seismic analyses at a potential site near Green River, Utah. If Blue Castle confirms the site is suitable, it will begin a process spanning several years to acquire licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other agencies needed to build the plant.