MidAmerican Nuclear Agrees wit Snake River Alliance that Nuclear Energy is Too Expensive
Snake River Alliance News Release
Jan. 28, 2008

Andrea Shipley, Snake River Alliance Executive Director
(208) 433-9161 office
(208) 514-8713 cell

Advocates of a nuclear power “renaissance” are basing their appeals on the notion that nuclear power will be an inexpensive way to get new baseload capacity and to combat global warming. However, MidAmerican Nuclear Energy Company, owned by leading businessman Warren Buffett, has ended its pursuit of a nuclear energy facility in Payette County after the company spent $13 million researching the viability of the location.

“When one of the top business people of this country agree with the Snake River Alliance’s conclusion that nuclear energy is not economically viable in this state, it sends a very clear message to other investors who want to try to build a nuclear plant in Idaho,” said Andrea Shipley, Executive Director of the Snake River Alliance.

Although MidAmerican says its decision is based on economic considerations and not on issues related to the suitability of the Idaho site, Shipley says, “Not only is nuclear power an economically unsound decision, its waste is dangerous to the health and security of Idaho.
Also, there simply is not enough water to support the cooling of a nuclear power plant in Idaho. Power plants are notorious for requiring massive amounts of water, and as Idahoans know the Snake River is already over-allocated in terms of water withdrawals. The amount of water required for one nuclear plant would have significant impacts on Idaho’s rivers, fish, and of course our agriculture industry. We believe the economic promise of renewable energy is the best solution for Idaho.”

The Snake River Alliance agrees with energy analysts and agencies such as the four-state Northwest Power and Conservation Council that Idaho can meet its projected energy requirements by implementing more ambitious energy conservation and efficiency programs and by creating a climate to develop the state’s untapped wind, geothermal, and other clean and affordable energy resources.

The people of Payette were invited to a MidAmerican community information meeting Dec. 20, 2007, where more than 400 community members attended. Many expressed concerns about the risks of nuclear power and how the proposed nuclear plant would impact their lives and livelihoods.

The Payette community’s experience with MidAmerican, which was very transparent about its plans, was quite different than those in Owyhee County working with Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc.

AEHI wants to build a 1,600-megawatt nuclear reactor on C.J. Strike Reservoir near Bruneau. AEHI built two towers in Owyhee County despite Owyhee County’s denial of permits for the towers in early November. One tower is a cellular tower, although there is no contract with a cellular company. The other tower is a meteorological tower designed to gather wind and other data required to process an application to build what could become Idaho’s first commercial nuclear power plant.

“We have to wonder why AEHI continues to refuse to comply with the approval process to build the towers and why they are not being transparent as MidAmerican was with the community about their plans,” Shipley said, adding county officials have been quoted in the Owyhee Avalanche as saying AEHI has violated the county’s zoning ordinances.

“If AEHI shows this much disregard for Owyhee County’s laws on something as basic as erecting required meteorological towers, why should the county, its residents, and the state of Idaho have any faith that AEHI will obey county and state laws in the future?”

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