Last month House Bill 96 was passed by the Idaho State Legislature and signed by Governor Brad Little. The bill will take out “renewable” language from the Idaho Energy Resources Authority (IERA) Act and replace it with “clean” to embrace nuclear energy and other false climate solutions.

This is greenwashing in action. Does anyone want to buy a Trojan Horse?

House Bill 96 Summary states:

This bill amends the Idaho Energy Resources Authority (IERA) Act by removing definitions of “renewable energy” and “renewable energy generation projects,” replacing those terms with definitions of “clean energy” and “clean energy generation projects.”

The new definition of clean energy carries over the old renewable energy definition that included water/hydro, geothermal, wind, solar and biogas, while adding nuclear, hydrogen, energy/battery storage, and other non-carbon emitting resources.

Radioactive waste is the product of the nuclear industry and the danger waiting within the Trojan Horse. It’s been over 60 years, and we have not solved our radioactive waste problem. The nuclear industrial complex still has no viable, long-term solution for our rising radioactive waste problem, and no one wants to be the nation’s nuclear waste dump.

Greenwashing nuclear energy is a marketing strategy to sell a false climate solution as an ecological savior. Billions in taxpayer dollars will be allocated to avert climate catastrophe. Dirty energy companies will seek some of that government cash, diverting money from faster, cleaner, safer and cheaper energy sources.

Cost us more money, worsening our crisis

The nuclear industry is stagnant and is becoming increasingly desperate to remain relevant. A family can install solar panels on their roof in under six months, cut their bills significantly and gain energy independence. A nuclear power plant takes BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars and decades to build and creates toxic radioactive waste.

Indeed, nuclear costs are so prohibitive the industry NEEDS our tax money to stay afloat. Once a plant is built, ratepayers see no cost savings in their utility bills. Instead of investing our tax dollars on cheaper, faster, cleaner energy solutions, our money is diverted into adding to our radioactive waste problem and making us less secure. In Michael Barnard’s recent article “Shoveling Money Into Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Won’t Make Their Electricity Cheap,” he said regarding NuScale’s small modular nuclear reactors, “They’ll remain expensive, if indeed they ever get grid connections anywhere.”

Beatrice Brailsford and the OGs of Idaho Nuclear Activism.

Profits leaving Idaho

Let’s take NuScale, then. NuScale is a new corporation out of Oregon pushing to build six small modular nuclear reactors over our sole-source freshwater aquifer at Idaho National Laboratory. Originally the plan was to build twelve reactors and use 50 acre-feet of our water per day. To put that into perspective, imagine 38 football fields covered in a foot of water every day!

NuScale would use and risk our water, land, and air while most of the power the reactors would produce leaves the state. The radioactive waste stays in Idaho, and the power and profits leave Idaho. Our country has no solution for over 90,000+ metric tons of high-level, commercial radioactive waste that currently exists. It makes no sense to create more.

Radioactive waste isn’t the only problem NuScale is facing. As with nearly 100% of nuclear projects, it’s over budget, the cost per kilowatt has doubled, and investors appear nervous. reported revenue drops just this month, and this “Fair” performance rating doesn’t paint a rosy picture for NuScale. 

Changing “renewable” to “clean” sounds like a simple word swap, but then why do it? The nuclear industry can not count on Wall Street to make a bad investment, so they turn to Main Street. Your tax dollars will fund their “clean energy” projects. We’re captive investors; people with a choice to invest are not buying it. House Bill 96 might be good for out-of-state corporations like NuScale, but it sells Idaho short.