Friday, December 8, 2006

Company wants nuclear plant in Idaho

Commercial facility would be 130 miles from Ketchum


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

Clean-energy proponents may be shifting their fight from coal-fired power plants to another form of energy generation that has a history of contentiousness in Idaho.

Alternate Energy Holdings has announced its intention to build a nuclear reactor near Bruneau, Idaho, 130 miles southwest of Ketchum.

The Nevada-based company wants to build the 1,5000-megawatt light water nuclear reactor and sell the bulk of the power generated on the open market, according to a news release from Snake River Alliance, an Idaho-based nuclear watchdog group.

The reactor would be the first commercial facility of its kind in Idaho.

"This is a huge step for an emerging growth company," President and CEO Don Gillispie said in a company news release. "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 expects a binding agreement to be signed in early in 2007 followed by plant construction in early 2008.

"Idaho doesn't need nuclear, and Idaho doesn't want nuclear," said Jeremy Maxand, Snake River Alliance's executive director. "The power and profits would leave Idaho. The nuclear waste would remain in our air, land and water."

Idahoans are still debating the possible effects from nuclear bomb testing at the Nevada Test Site, which many claim resulted in nuclear fallout and illness in Idaho.

The state of Idaho and the federal government were for years at odds over the cleanup of radioactive nuclear waste buried in shallow pits at Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho. That cleanup is ongoing.

A proposed coal-fired power plant slated for Jerome County last year brought out thousands of Idahoans against the facility. The resulting moratorium enacted by the state Legislature covered coal-fired power plants, but not nuclear plants.




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