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AEHI to NRC: Don’t Hold Your Breath for Our Nuke Plans

By

Media Release
For Immediate Release
December 22, 2009
Contact: Andrea Shipley
(208) 344-9161
Ken Miller
(208) 344-9161

Email: ashipley@snakeriveralliance.org
kmiller@snakeriveralliance.org

AEHI to NRC: Don’t Hold Your Breath on Our Nuke Plans

The would-be developer of Idaho’s roaming nuclear reactor has told federal regulators his applications for various sites in Idaho and elsewhere won’t be filed until mid-2011 at the earliest – not this month as originally planned.

“Alternate Energy Holdings’ Chairman and CEO Don Gillispie’s letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission proves what the Snake River Alliance and other critics of Mr. Gillispie’s nomad nuclear reactor have been saying all along,” Alliance Executive Director Andrea Shipley said. “They don’t have their act together and instead of filing the required application to the NRC this year as they claimed, it will be another year or more.” Shipley said Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc.’ s most recent delay makes the chances of AEHI landing a critical federal loan guarantee almost impossible, as other nuclear reactor developers have already filed their applications and AEHI would be so far down the list the guarantees will be long gone by the time AEHI applies for federal handouts.

AEHI’s letter to the NRC attempts to explain the latest missed deadline by saying AEHI has added sites in Payette County and Pueblo, Colorado, to the Elmore County site that is slipping away from the company. The letter says AEHI will now file required combined licenses for the proposed Payette County site in the second quarter of 2011, or the proposed Elmore County site atop the Snake River south of Mountain Home in the fourth quarter of 2011, and for the Colorado site in the second quarter of 2012. It also told the NRC it has bailed on yet another reactor design and instead “is negotiating to bring a new advanced reactor to the US based on first generation US technology. In any case, we plan to select our reactor supplier no later than the second quarter of 2010. In addition, all three of our sites will now be dual unit sites.”

AEHI has met overwhelming local opposition at each of the three sites where it has tried to locate its reactor, first in Owyhee County and then upstream on the Snake River in Elmore County and then back downstream in Payette County. The company doesn’t own land in any of the three counties and is asking local officials to sign off on plans for a reactor project without knowing what kind of reactor it plans to use and how much of Southern Idaho’s precious water it would consume.

“For a company with no money and little prospects of getting any in the foreseeable future, AEHI continues to overstate its ability to build anything in Idaho except a bad reputation,” Shipley said. “The company continues to over-promise what it will deliver to federal and local governments. It promises jobs it doesn’t have to local residents. It moves from county to county and state to state trying to drum up support for reactor plans it doesn’t have. And now it says its required federal paperwork won’t be filed for more than a year. It has almost no chance of securing federal loan guarantees, which are required by every lender in order to finance these outrageously expensive and risky projects.”

Shipley noted federal NRC documents as recently as Oct. 16 still have AEHI expecting to file its application in 2009 despite the new letter saying it will be 2011 at the soonest. “And there are 17 other applications ahead of it, each competing for just a few federal loan guarantees.” She also noted that AEHI has yet to even ask Elmore or Payette counties for permits to erect the meteorological towers that are required to gather a year’s worth of data before submitting a reactor application. In addition, if AEHI opts for a foreign reactor design that is has not been reviewed by the NRC, the review process will be significantly extended.

“The odds of this plant being built anywhere in Idaho ever since Mr. Gillispie rolled into Idaho three years ago were slim to none, and now they’re even more remote,” Shipley said. “Unfortunately, Mr. Gillispie and his itinerant reactor plans are forcing county after county to waste time and resources working on a project that will never happen.”

Furthermore, AEHI has not identified a single electric utility that is interested in buying its power, and Idaho Power’s newest draft energy plan does not identify nuclear power as a future energy resource. None of the three Idaho sites targeted by AEHI is in the proximity of the massive transmission upgrades that a plant this size would require.

The Snake River Alliance works for responsible solutions to nuclear waste and a nuclear-free future. It seeks to strengthen Idaho’s economy and communities through the implementation of renewable energy sources in Idaho and the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation. This year marks its 30th Anniversary as Idaho’s nuclear watchdog and advocate for clean energy.

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