STATUS: In progress with opposition
OPPOSITION: Snake River Alliance
BACKGROUND: Alternative Energy Holdings Inc. (AEHI) has proposed to build a 1,600-megawatt nuclear plant in Elmore County on 1,280 acres near Hammett, Utah. Early construction estimates by the developer are that it will cost between $4 and $5 billion to construct the plant, and will require 5,000 jobs at the peak of construction.
The original plan was to site the plant in nearby Owyhee County, but AEHI chose to move the project to Hammett due to a number of issues, including the discovery of a fault line at the site.
The developer’s plans to build the plant have stalled over the years due to siting and zoning issues, as well as environmental group opposition. The Snake River Alliance, a nuclear watchdog group, opposes the project citing water issues and radioactive waste storage as drawbacks to the plan. A spokesperson from the Alliance states “The last thing Idaho needs is a nomad nuclear power plant developer bouncing from county to county, looking for the best deal for his outrageously bad idea.” In November 2008, the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission rejected the developer’s proposal to re-zone land for the plant. In November 2009, however, the Commission voted 4-3 to begin amending the county comprehensive plan and remove conflicts with the rezoning application for the nuclear plant. The Snake River Alliance indicated that the vote merely allows for examination of possible future development and does not actually move the nuclear plant forward. In October 2009, the developer wrote to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announcing that it expects to file the license application for the plant in the fourth quarter of 2011.
On October 28, 2010, AEHI secured private funding to cover payments for land, water rights, engineering work and Nuclear Regulatory Commission application fees to obtain a combined construction and operating license. Progress continues for the Hammett project, albeit slowly.
SOURCES: AEHI (http://aehi.wordpress.com/);
Times-News Magic Valley (http://www.magicvalley.com/news/local/article_683fa07d-a401-5e6e-9af8-87e2242fcec1.html; http://www.magicvalley.com/news/local/article_1d92bce9-0387-5199-9fea-ea15e01c858c.html);
Mountain Home News (http://www.mountainhomenews.com/story/1324059.html).
Last Updated: November 5, 2010