Alternate Energy Holdings (PINKSHEETS: AEHI) announced a letter of intent, signed December 1, 2006, to construct, own, and operate a nuclear power plant near Bruneau, Idaho. The proposed 1500 Megawatt light water reactor will provide much needed electricity for local farm co-op irrigation, while the majority of the power produced will be sold in the national energy market to help address west coast power supply challenges. When completed, this will be Idaho's first large commercial nuclear plant and only the second one in the region. After approval of the plant site and design/development preparation, the modular design can be completed in approximately 36 months -- placing AEHI at the forefront of nuclear construction in the United States.
President and CEO Don Gillispie states, "This is a huge step for an emerging growth company. We have been working diligently for months developing a plan to enter the operating market, and Idaho is a wonderful opportunity for us to begin fulfilling our corporate vision." The company announced its business strategy, which includes a project along these lines, early in the year and expects a binding agreement executed early in 2007 followed by plant construction in early 2008.
I posted the following comment at Red State Rebels after spending much of yesterday being lectured by nuclear industry professionals on the "benefits" of nuclear waste. Read all the comments at RSR for more context.
For a different side of the debate, one that doesn't include nuclear industry professionals, please read this report [from Public Citizen]:
Among other things is this statement:
"Nuclear power is not a clean energy source: it produces both low and high-level radioactive waste that remains dangerous for several hundred thousand years. Generated throughout all parts of the fuel cycle, this waste poses a serious danger to human health. Currently, over 2,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste and 12 million cubic feet of low level radioactive waste are produced annually by the 103 operating reactors in the United States. No country in the world has found a solution for this waste. Building new nuclear plants would mean the production of much more of this dangerous waste with no where for it to go."
The ultimate question is: Does Idaho need a nuclear power plant? For me, the answer is no. Here's the opinion of the Snake River Alliance:
"Idaho doesn't need nuclear. Idaho has several times over the amount of renewable energy in Idaho than we consume, and this is what we should develop."
They also point out that a nuclear reactor requires large amounts of water to operate. Where is that water going to come from?
"The exact amount of water used depends on the reactor design, but the amounts are massive. For instance, the Vogtle reactor power plant in Georgia withdraws about 64 million gallons of water a day from the Savannah River."
If we need additional energy sources here in Idaho, which it isn't clear that we do, let's exhaust the renewable potential first. [Edited URL to a link]
For more information check out the Snake River Alliance website.
Update: Reformatted for easier reading.
Update: One of the participants advocating for the Bruneau reactor in the lively discussion at RSR is Jim Hopf who is connected with Energy Solutions, a Salt Lake City company "specializing in nuclear services." Energy Solutions and their PAC contributed $10,000 to Butch Otter, the Republican Governor-elect of Idaho, during the 2006 campaign. They also contributed to the campaigns of the entire Idaho Congressional Delegation, Sen. Larry Craig, Sen. Mike Crapo, Rep. Mike Simpson, and Rep-elect Bill Sali.