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College of Business and Economics News

Geoff Black’s Article on SMRs Published in a Top Journal

Geoff BlackGeoff Black, professor of economics, recently had his article Economic viability of light water small modular nuclear reactors: General methodology and vendor data published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Resources Reviews. This journal is ranked above the 95th percentile and has a wide readership and many citations.

“This article is important because a major new technology to produce carbon-free energy, small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs), has been hampered in its commercial development due to a large degree of uncertainty regarding its economic viability, especially given the relatively high costs of traditional nuclear power plants,” explains Black. “This article uses an innovative methodology to estimate the manufacturing and construction costs and, for the first time, incorporates actual cost data from a firm developing this technology. The article shows that there are major cost savings relative to traditional nuclear power plants and that this technology is economically competitive. This will go a long way to reduce the uncertainty and facilitate the commercial development of SMRs. The vendor providing the detailed cost data, NuScale Power, has an agreement with UAMPS, the major utility in eastern Idaho and Utah, to develop a commercial power plant at the INL site near Idaho Falls.”

Read the abstract for Economic viability of light water small modular nuclear reactors: General methodology and vendor data, here.

Increasing global energy demand coupled with the need to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gases make investments in new carbon-free energy technologies more important than ever. One promising new technology is light water small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs). Their relatively small size, modular design, reduced construction times, enhanced safety and other features make them a potentially attractive energy source. A critical element in assessing their potential for future development, however, is their economic viability relative to other energy sources. The most common metric to assess a power system’s economic viability is the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). The LCOE method allows comparisons across energy producing technologies with different capital, operating, fuel, and other costs as well as different levels of power produced and operating horizons. The manufacture, construction and other initial capital costs loom large in LCOE calculations. To date, however, there has been substantial uncertainty regarding these capital costs for SMRs and, as a result, attendant uncertainty about the economic viability of SMRs relative to other energy sources.

In order to reduce this uncertainty, this research provides a general framework for estimating the direct and indirect costs of producing SMRs. This study incorporates detailed cost data from a major developer of small modular reactors, NuScale LLC to provide direct and indirect capital cost estimates of the NuScale SMR and cost comparisons with conventional large-scale nuclear power plants. These comparisons illustrate that design simplification, reduced componentry, modularity, and other features of the SMR design result in significant savings in overall base costs. These cost estimates provide strong evidence that SMRs have the potential to be
economically competitive with other energy sources while at the same time yielding significant benefits in terms of reducing carbon emissions from power generating facilities.

Read the article Economic viability of light water small modular nuclear reactors: General methodology and vendor data here.


COBE Associate Dean Zeynep Hansen Selected as Vice Provost for Academic Planning

zeynep hansen

Zeynep Hansen has been selected to serve as Boise State University’s vice provost for academic planning. She will replace Jim Munger, who will retire on June 30.

“I’m just delighted that Zeynep will be joining the provost’s office. She brings impressive skills, experience, institutional knowledge and character to the job,” said Provost Tony Roark. “I’m aware of how valuable the support provided by this position is to departments and colleges, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Zeynep’s unique abilities will quickly make her a go-to person for the campus. There aren’t many people who could follow Jim Munger in this role, but Zeynep is definitely one of them.”

Hansen was chosen from a competitive pool of applicants by a 13-member selection committee. As vice provost, she will collaborate with other members of the provost’s team, college deans, department chairs and others to contribute to university efforts toward higher levels of achievement in teaching, scholarship and community engagement.

“I’m honored and very excited to be selected to serve as the vice provost for academic planning,” Hansen said. “I look forward to collaborating with academic leaders and all other campus partners in this new role starting on July 1. In the meantime, I have much to learn from Jim Munger, who is a wonderfully supportive leader and colleague. I have experienced first-hand Jim’s expertise and leadership, as we have worked together closely over the past few years. I am committed to a continued partnership with Jim and other members of the provost’s office to make this transition successful. With immense growth and opportunity in the coming years for Boise State, I am very happy to serve the campus community in this role.”

Hansen has served as associate dean for academic programs and scholarship for the College of Business and Economics since June 2017. In that role, she administered 18 undergraduate and graduate programs with approximately 300 graduate students and more than 3,000 undergraduates; oversaw College Graduate Programs, Career Services, Advising Services and Online Programs; advised the dean on strategic planning including curriculum decisions, operational decisions and outreach to students and faculty; led college-wide research support efforts and initiatives; collaborated with other colleges and departments at Boise State on new program and curriculum offerings; and served on a number of university-wide committees.

Hansen joined Boise State in 2007 as an associate professor, was promoted to professor in 2010 and served as chair of the Department of Economics from 2013-2017. Previously, she served on the faculty of Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Arizona and is a graduate of Boise State.

Hansen also is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). She has published articles in journals such as the Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, and Journal of Economic History. Most of her research focuses on agricultural policy in the development of the American economy. Her other research interests are in health policy, strategic biotechnology-pharmaceutical alliances, education economics, water infrastructure and historical water use in the western United States.

Liam Maher’s Review Accepted for Publication in Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior 

Liam MaherLiam Maher, assistant professor in the Department of Management, had a final manuscript: Reorganizing Organizational Politics Research: A Review of the Literature and Identification of Future Research Directions accepted for the next volume of the Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior. This journal has an impact factor of 7.644 (4th highest among management journals) and publishes review pieces that take stock of the state of a particular field and suggest avenues for future research in that area. This review is about research on organizational politics and how it impacts our daily work lives.


Liam Maher Papers Presented at the Southern Management Association Conference

Liam MaherLiam Maher, assistant professor in the Department of Management, had two papers presented at the recent Annual Meeting of  the Southern Management Association in Lexington, Kentucky. Maher also served as a presenter at a consortium for students who are considering pursuing a Ph.D.

One paper titled Roles of Organizational Politics Perceptions and Needs Satisfaction in the Political Skill – Proactive Work Behavior Relationship: Test of a Moderated Mediation Model, co-authored with A. Ejaz, D. Lacaze, S. Quratulain and G.R. Ferris, is about how people with political skill can navigate through highly political environments at work to satisfy their basic psychological needs and be more proactive at work.

Maher’s second paper discusses how supervisor paternalism can be a stressor or a stress reliever for women who are pregnant at work.  This paper is co-authored with K.L. Hackney, S. R. Daniels, and P.L. Perrewé, titled Paternalism during pregnancy: Stress reliever or stressor?

What Question Will You Answer in 2019

Nancy Napier, Distinguished Professor, retiredDon’t let 2019 pass by in a blur as many focus on 2020. Check out Distinguished Professor Nancy Napier’s article about asking annual questions.

“Make it a purposeful year, ” suggests Napier. “What question would you raise to keep you thinking for a year?”

See Napier’s full article “What’s your question, on any subject? Think of a great one for 2019.”

Karen Nicholas Selected to Participate in Transformative Research Pilot Program

Karen NicholasKaren Nicholas, an assistant professor in the Department of Management, was selected to participate in a pilot for the Center for Transformative Research at Boise State University. Nichols is one of 15 diverse Boise State faculty that want to seed and grow bold ideas that challenge the status quo in our disciplines.

“I am eager to learn with, and from, my fellow Boise State University colleagues across multiple disciplines,” said Nichols. “As a new arrival to Boise State in fall 2018, this presents me with an opportunity to broaden my scope and scale of research. The COBE community has been incredibly welcoming, and I look forward to getting to know further reaches of the campus.

The pilot program is housed in the Division of Research and Economic Development in partnership with the Institute of STEM and Diversity Initiatives. The collective vision of the center is to support and sustain an ASSERTive community – for Aligning Stakeholders and Structures to Enable Research Transformation. This community will: (1) provide professional development for research-active and research-aspiring faculty and postdoctoral scholars; (2) align university structures and cultures to support the germination of transformative research questions and ideas among the participants; and (3) begin the longitudinal tracking of the participants to measure the long-term impact of this model. Over the 2 years of this grant and the year following the formal project period, thirty participants will receive intense professional development, enhancing their ability to expand their research identity, formulate transformative research questions, and move their bold ideas forward.

The COBE Accelerator powered by hosted Annual Mentor Social with Deal Forum

Anne Madden of Proximity Telehealth

Anne Madden of Proximity Telehealth presenting at the December Deal Forum

The COBE Funding Accelerator powered by hosted a Deal Forum and their annual mentor social in December. The event highlighted four entrepreneurial ventures who received feedback on their venture pitch from members of the Idaho investment community.

During 2018 more than 25 teams in Idaho have participated in pitch events through the Cooperative Venture Mentor Program of Top performing teams will be invited to participate in the annual Investor’s Choice Conference in Salt Lake City on February 20-21, 2019. The top teams include several companies from Idaho and more than a dozen companies coached by Idaho mentor and student internship teams.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply for Deal Forum and Investor’s Choice Conference through or contact John Williamson.