Elmore Nuke Plant Off to Shaky Start in Mountain Home
Snake River Alliance News Release
For Immediate Release
June 11, 2008

Contact: Andrea Shipley
(208) 344-9161 (office)
Email: [email protected]

Developers of a proposed nuclear power plant in Elmore County held their first “public meeting” Tuesday, a 90-minute session in which they limited questions to county residents only and rattled off a series of inaccurate claims about nuclear power, their proposed project, and how it will impact Mountain Home and other communities in Elmore County.

“We’re glad Alternate Energy Holdings finally met the public two months after announcing plans for a massive nuclear complex on Idaho’s precious Snake River south of Mountain Home,” Snake River Alliance Executive Director Andrea Shipley said. “Unfortunately, the information AEHI dished out in its choreographed meeting was just as inaccurate as that provided to residents in Owyhee County last year, before AEHI went shopping for a better deal elsewhere. Nothing the company said Tuesday night should convince Elmore County residents that this nuclear scheme is any more viable or appropriate in Elmore than the county AEHI just walked away from.”

AEHI pulled the plug on its Owyhee County nuclear plant in April, despite claims by AEHI President Don Gillispie that the former site was “The perfect place for a reactor.” Its newest site, about 15 miles upstream on the Snake River in Elmore County, is already coming under fire from residents who question the plant’s safety, its likely environmental impact on the county and Idaho’s prized Bruneau Dunes State Park and observatory, and the chances it will ever be built.

While AEHI’s Gillispie sought to assure residents that his company and its 1,600 megawatt nuclear plant – a model that has yet to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission – would be good nuclear neighbors for Elmore’s farmers, ranchers, business, residents, and Mountain Home Air Force Base, it’s clear there is healthy skepticism countywide. Among the claims by AEHI and Gillispie that the Alliance takes issue with:

– AEHI representatives continue to claim their nuclear power will be 1.7 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to higher prices for coal, gas and renewable energy resources, and that their plant will meet one-third of Idaho’s electricity needs. “They’ve been using that number for more than a year, despite well-established evidence that nuclear power will cost more than 10 cents a kilowatt hour – and probably much more. Moreover, Idaho utilities are unlikely to buy this more expensive power, which will be marketed to other markets where electricity rates are far higher than in Idaho, while using Idaho’s water and leaving us the radioactive waste.”
– AEHI claims Idaho needs nuclear power as a “baseload” resource because other resources such as wind and solar are too intermittent. “Unlike most states, Idaho already has a strong firm energy resource in its hydropower,” Shipley said. “And its renewable energy resources are far more reliable than AEHI would have you believe.”
– AEHI claims its Idaho Energy Complex plant would be virtually emissions-free. “Cradle-to-grave, from uranium mining, milling, enrichment, fuel production, power production, and its massive waste problem, nuclear power is the most dangerous and toxic form of electricity generation imaginable,” Shipley said.

“Once again, AEHI is claiming its nuclear power is somehow “renewable” and therefore a logical response to the planet’s global warming crisis,” Shipley said. “Its fuel cycle and its toxic waste streams are anything but renewable. Idaho has abundant renewable resources, including wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. Those are the resources we should be developing in Idaho. They are emissions-free and their fuel has no limits.”

The Alliance also challenged the handling of Tuesday night’s meeting, which limited questions only to Elmore County residents, and Gillispie’s claim that, “The people who oppose it, most of the ones I’ve met are transplants.”

“Actually, those who opposed the plant last night were not transplants but Idaho natives,” Shipley said. “This plant would sit on the Owyhee County border less than 70 miles from Boise and just downstream from the Magic Valley. All Idahoans have a stake on how it will impact our environment, our water, and our way of life. It is not simply an Elmore County issue.”

Shipley also questioned AEHI’s claims that initial funding for the project “should be secured probably this month or the third quarter at the latest.”

“We’ve been hearing that for more than a year now,” Shipley said. “Other than selling millions of shares of stock for pennies a share, the company has yet to announce the massive outside investment required to pull off a project like this.” And while AEHI continues to claim its project will cost $4 billion to $5 billion, similar plants elsewhere are undergoing sticker shock, with costs doubling and tripling.

Asked by one questioner whether AEHI planned to take advantage of a new state law that would cap property valuations at $400 million for companies that invest $1 billion or more in Idaho, Gillispie said, incredibly: “I haven’t done my homework on that one.”

The company’s most recent unaudited financial filing, dated June 10 and covering the year ended Dec. 31, 2007, shows total assets of $324,000, a net loss from operations of $4.4 million, and 42.7 million shares of outstanding stock (currently valued at 16 cents a share). That financial statement can be found in the “filings” section at: http://www.pinksheets.com/pink/quote/quote.jsp?symbol=AEHI#getQuote

AEHI has scheduled a second meeting for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, June 16, at the Glenns Ferry Opera House.

The Snake River Alliance is a nonprofit organization working toward energy solutions for Idaho and dedicated to serving as Idaho’s nuclear watchdog.