Idaho's Nuclear Watchdog
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Jeremy Maxand, Executive Director
(208) 344-9161 office/(208) 850-9334 cell
On December 1, 2006, Alternate Energy Holdings (AEHI) announced its intent to construct and operate a 1,500-megawatt light water nuclear reactor near Bruneau, Idaho. The company maintains that the bulk of the power will be sold on the energy market, primarily to Western states, with a small amount going to pump irrigation water in the Bruneau area. According to AEHI, a "binding agreement" is expected in early 2007 and plant construction will begin in 2008. The AEHI reactor would be the first commercial nuclear reactor in Idaho.
"Idaho doesn't need nuclear and Idaho doesn't want nuclear," said Jeremy Maxand, executive director of the Snake River Alliance, a statewide nuclear watchdog group. "The power and profits would leave Idaho. The nuclear waste would remain in our air, land, and water."
The company says the Energy Policy Act of 2005 creates an "ideal market atmosphere for the development of new plants." According to Maxand, "That's another way of saying AEHI sees an ideal atmosphere for taking advantage of taxpayers, since the Energy Act included massive subsidies for nuclear power."
A new nuclear reactor could put pressure on Idaho farmers and ranchers and other water right holders who are already struggling. All reactors must have substantial water available to create steam to power the turbines and to continuously cool the fuel rods in the reactor core to prevent meltdown. 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.
Because of its location, the proposed reactor could put many living downwind in radioactive harm's way. Considering the damage already done by nuclear fallout from nuclear bomb testing at the Nevada Test Site, a new nuclear threat could generate widespread public concern and opposition.
"This nuclear reactor will benefit this one company, but it has nothing to do with my family, community, and environmental beliefs," said Craig Wolfrom, a photographer and father in the Wood River Valley. "I say, 'no' to companies like AEHI that profit off their neighbors leaving them with waste and putting families like mine who live downwind in harms way."
Alternative Energy Holdings is a Nevada-based (http://www.alternateenergyholdings.com/).
Link to the AEHI announcement
Link to Energy Policy Findings Report (Public opinion survey on energy in Idaho)
Link to study on renewable energy in Idaho
Link to the Snake River Alliance
The Snake River Alliance is an Idaho-based grassroots group working through research, education, and community advocacy for peace and justice, the end to nuclear weapons, responsible solutions to nuclear waste and contamination, and sustainable alternatives to nuclear power.