Company announces plans for nuclear
plant in Idaho, officials skeptical
December 8, 2006
BRUNEAU – A nuclear power plant may be coming to Idaho.
Funny thing, though: Nobody here knows it’s coming.
Earlier this week, a company called Alternate Energy Holdings issued a press release stating the company intends to “construct, own and operate a nuclear power plant near Bruneau” in Owyhee County.
But apparently, the company has not shared this information with the county, the state or the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Owyhee County Clerk Charlotte Sherburn says neither she nor anyone else in the county government office has ever heard of Alternate Energy Holdings. She also said she knows of no plans by anyone to build a nuclear facility in Idaho.
Neither does the Department of Energy in Idaho. Spokesman Tim Jackson said, “All I know is probably what you know.”
The press release included no telephone number. The phone number listed on the company’s Web site, http://www.alternateenergyholdings.com, is the Thaxton, Va., home of Don Gillispie, the company’s president and chief
executive. Calls to that number were not returned by press time.
Idaho is one of 19 states with no commercial nuclear power source.
An NRC Web site lists 17 new nuclear power plants across the nation either in the licensing stage or under construction. None is in Idaho – the facility proposed by Alternate Energy is not on the list.
“Let me say, in an official capacity, we have received nothing from this company. No letter, nothing,” said commission public affairs specialist Scott Burnell. “If I had a phrase stronger than ‘information void,’ I’d use it.”
Alternate Energy’s press release said construction on the Bruneau nuclear plant will begin in 2008. Burnell said that’s impossible.
“I can say definitely that statement indicates a distinct lack of understanding of licensing procedures,” he said. Burnell added that even if the company had already applied for licenses, which it has not, the regulatory commission wouldn’t even be halfway through the review process by 2008.
Times-News staff writer Matt Christensen covers natural resources. Contact him at 735-3243 or at [email protected]