For Immediate Release
January 11, 2010
Contact: Andrea Shipley
Korea Debunks AEHI Claim that Reactor Deal is Imminent
Official: ‘There is no proof that AEHI has the resources to build nuclear reactors’
Contrary to a published report Sunday, the Korean government is nowhere near cutting a deal with itinerant Idaho nuclear reactor developer Don Gillispie and his Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc., and in fact a Korean government official said AEHI is likely too small a company to do business with.
For the past week, AEHI has been trying to convince the media, investors and others that it expects to reach an agreement with state-owned Korean Electric Power Corp. to import KEPCO’s APR-1400 reactors into the United States for its alleged projects in Elmore and Payette counties in Idaho and also in Pueblo, Colorado. The Idaho Statesman on Sunday ran a story suggesting the South Korean government is engaged in serious negotiations with Gillispie and AEHI to import uncertified reactors into the United States. A news account in the Korea Times last week quoted a KEPCO spokesman as saying no such deal is in the works. Far from it: While the Koreans were willing to meet with Gillispie, they have expressed no desire to cut a deal with him or his company.
“Since arriving in Idaho three years ago from Virginia, Mr. Gillispie has built a record as a serial exaggerator,” Snake River Alliance Executive Director Andrea Shipley said. “He has devoted his time in Idaho taking license with the facts. Other than racking up frequent flier miles, his Korean adventure proves only one thing: He seems more interested in peddling his nomad nuclear reactor and his futile effort to attract investor dollars than he is in actually building anything in Idaho.”
Shipley said AEHI sought to draw attention to itself by issuing a Jan. 4 news release claiming “AEHI Expects to Close Deal to Import Korean Reactors in Early 2010.” The release said Gillispie had winged his way to Seoul “to finalize negotiations with Korean Electric Power Company, KEPCO, to import the South Korean’s advanced reactor, APR 1400, for its Idaho and Colorado sites.” The release quoted Gillispie as claiming, “We are pleased to have played a small part in encouraging the Koreans to export their superior reactor and now we would like to complete our negotiations to bring the APR 1400 into the US for the first time including helping achieve NRC design certification.”
That came as a surprise to KEPCO, which is part of an international consortium that recently signed a $20 billion contract for a nuclear reactor project in the United Arab Emirates. “We don’t see much likelihood of a deal,” a KEPCO spokesperson was quoted in the Korea Times as saying. “I’m afraid AEHI is going a bit too far in promoting it.” The spokesperson continued: “The nuclear industry deals with massive projects and is sensitive to safety. If we are to strike a deal with a private company, we would want a more sizeable one.”
In addition, the Korean government said in a news release last week that Gillispie’s presence in Seoul “must not be seen as a concrete step that could lead to another export deal for South Korean nuclear reactors.” The release quoted a source in the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, who said, “There is no proof that AEHI has the resources to build nuclear reactors.”
AEHI came to Idaho in 2006 with plans to build a reactor in Owyhee County. When those plans collapsed, the company moved upstream on the Snake River to nearby Elmore County, where its plans to build a reactor above the river on prime farmland met stiff opposition by local residents and the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission. So AEHI went back downstream late last year to Payette County, where it is once again trying to rezone land for the reactor.
Shipley said it’s no coincidence that AEHI is claiming a phantom deal with KEPCO the same week of a Payette County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Thursday on AEHI’s request to rezone land in Payette County for a reactor.
“It’s incredibly cynical for AEHI to pretend it’s nearing a deal with KEPCO on the eve of the Payette County P&Z meeting, when the very people AEHI have been meeting with in Korea say no deal is near,” she said. “There’s no question the people of Payette County will see through this transparent attempt to portray AEHI as credible, when for the past three years it has proven it lacks the money, the credibility, the expertise, and the understanding of Idaho energy issues to develop a nuclear reactor project. If there’s one area where inflating credentials and making it up as you go is dangerous, it is nuclear power. Why would Payette County surrender its agricultural land to a developer claiming to build a nuclear reactor that will never happen?”
In addition to overstating the Koreans’ commitment to dealing with AEHI, the Alliance noted AEHI couldn’t possibly begin serious negotiations on importing a nuclear reactor that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission hasn’t certified. The Alliance reported last month that AEHI failed to meet a deadline it set for itself to submit the application for a reactor to the NRC by the end of 2009, telling the NRC instead it will file applications for all three Idaho sites from mid-2011 to mid-2012. However, in an NRC memorandum dated Dec. 9 and discussing a meeting between NRC and KEPCO, NRC staff notified the Korean developer that the agency budget won’t allow a review of the APR 1400 for at least another two years.
“So AEHI is telling the people of Idaho that it will sign a contract to import nuclear reactors that are years away from NRC certification, and it has no financial resources to do so?” Shipley said. “And all the while it is forcing our county governments to invest scarce time and resources to process its applications? All Idahoans – and especially these counties being targeted by AEHI – should be offended that this company is putting such a burden on our local resources, especially since each of these counties are blessed with truly sustainable and renewable energy resources.”
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.
EDITORS: The following links may help as you fact-check AEHI’s claims:
AEHI’s Jan. 4 news release: http://www.alternateenergyholdings.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=gVVisrNAzgI%3D&tabid=1979
Korea Times Jan. 8 article: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2010/01/123_58679.html
S. Korean release on status of KEPCO-AEHI talks: http://www.zibb.com/article/5766441/U+S+ENERGY+CO+HEAD+IN+S+KOREA+TO+DISCUSS+NUCLEAR+REACTORS
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission minutes of Dec. 9, 2009, meeting with KEPCO representatives regarding potential licensing of the APR-1400 reactor design that AEHI claims it will import into the United States: You can visit the NRC website and search for this document, but the link we had intended to provide you was not working properly. If you search for it, this is what you will find:
December 9, 2009
APPLICANT: KOREA ELECTRIC POWER CORPORATION
APPLICATION: APR-1400 PRESENTATION
SUBJECT: SUMMARY OF THE NOVEMBER 18, 2009, PUBLIC MEETING WITH
KOREA ELECTRIC POWER CORPORATION ON THE APR-1400
On November 18, 2009, a Category 1 public meeting was held between the U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) at The Legacy
Hotel in Rockville, Maryland. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange information
regarding the APR-1400 design, KEPCO pre-application activities and the Title 10 of the Code
of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 52 review process. This meeting marked the first official
interaction between the NRC staff and KEPCO regarding the APR-1400 design. A list of
attendees is provided as Enclosure 1.
A public meeting notice was issued and documented in the Agencywide Documents Access and
Management System (ADAMS) with Accession Number ML093080747 which includes the
Meeting Agenda. The KEPCO Presentation Slides, Enclosure 2, are available in ADAMS,
under Accession Number ML093430109 and the NRC Meeting Presentation Slides,
Enclosure 3, are also available in ADAMS, under Accession Number ML093430104.
KEPCO presented an overview of the company and its current activities in the nuclear arena in
Korea and other countries. KEPCO has twenty nuclear power plants at four sites, initial
operation in 1978, with the latest in 2005. KEPCO plans to construct eight new plants in Korea,
including four APR-1400 plants (Shin-Kori 3 and 4 and Shin-Ulchin 1 and 2). The APR-1400
design received Standard Design Approval from the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety in 2002.
KEPCO representatives stated that the APR-1400 design has been developed using
improvements from the System 80+, OPR1000 and Improved OPR100 designs.
The APR-1400 improvements include four trains of safety injection system, an in-containment
refueling water storage tank, digital instrumentation and control (I&C), and severe accident
mitigation features. The design features that are different from System 80+ include a prestressed
concrete cylindrical containment, a fluidic device on safety injection tanks (SIT),
improved digital I&C and advanced control room design, PLUS 7 fuel, use of Passive
Autocatalytic Recombiners/igniter for hydrogen mitigation, and enhanced severe accident
management strategies such as External Reactor Vessel Cooling. Other design differences
include a higher thermal power, use of pilot-operated safety relief valves on the pressurizer, and
an integrated head assembly.
For safety injection systems, KEPCO described the use of 4 – train direct vessel injection
system, including SIT, pumps, and fluidic device (a passive flow regulator in the SIT). KEPCO
also presented detailed information on its use of the digital I&C, man-machine interfaces and
human factors engineering design, including compliance with United States regulations.
– 2 –
In addition, KEPCO proposed a topical report schedule and a design certification application
date, and also expressed interests in future interactions with the NRC to further discuss the
APR-1400 design activities.
The NRC staff presented an overview of the 10 CFR Part 52 and design certification process.
The presentation summarized the licensing process, which included early site permit, design
certification, combined license, standard design, and manufacturing license. The NRC staff also
discussed the description of a Design Certification Rule (DCR), contents of applications, and the
process to amend a DCR.
In addition, the NRC staff discussed some of the policy issues and lessons learned from other
design centers. These included budget requirements and availability of funding in fiscal year
2010 and beyond. The NRC staff also discussed the availability of documents in English and
some of the challenges with foreign applicants, including the time difference, teleconferencing,
and difficulty of organizing public meetings.
The NRC staff closed the meeting by stating that this meeting did not initiate the review of the
APR-1400 design certification and that staff resources for this review are not currently in the
NRC budget for at least the next two years. Additional interactions with KEPCO regarding their
plans are expected to occur in the future.
Please direct any inquiries to Michael S. Magee at 301-415-6988 or via e-mail at
Michael S. Magee, Project Manager
US-APWR Projects Branch
Division of New Reactor Licensing
Office of New Reactors
Docket No. 52-021
1. Attendance Sheet
2. KEPCO Presentation Slides (ML093430109)
3. NRC Presentation Slides (ML093430104)