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Utah Power & Light Co. intends to fire up the 45-year-old Gadsby Power Plant again.

The plant, near 1300 West and North Temple, has been mothballed since the mid-1980s. But in a meeting on PM10 air pollution last week, state officials said it may be reactivated.If that is done, they said, under a proposed state implementation plan to control PM10, Gadsby would be required to burn natural gas instead of coal. Coal produces a great deal of PM10, while natural gas releases almost none.

PM10 - particulates smaller than 10 microns in diameter - are dangerous because they can lodge deep within the lungs. Some PM10 particles are carcinogenic.

Because Salt Lake County's air is far worse that federal health standards permit for PM10, the Utah Air Conservation Committee is drawing up new requirements to limit this pollution. Among the requirements being proposed is that the Gadsby Plant burn natural gas.

UP&L spokesman John Serfustini confirmed that the plant will be brought back on line. He agreed that it might be converted to burn natural gas before it is reactivated.

The replacement cost to build a new plant producing the Gadsby Plant's 241 megawatts would be $400 million today, he said. When the plant was built in 1955, the price tag was $38 million.

"It's going to come back on line when the mathematics justify it. In other words, when it becomes our cheapest source of new generating capacity, then it comes back."

A few months may be required to check out the old equipment, after the decision is made to fire up the boilers. Also, equipment may be retrofitted to meet new emission standards.

"It'll be brought back, but the question is when," Serfustini said.

"Gadsby's just there as an economical source of power because it's already been built. It's sitting there. I imagine we've got some people left who know how to run the thing."