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Mexico’s nuclear future October 10, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in approval process, Energy policy, Greenfield nuclear development, Mexican nuclear energy, nuclear industry.
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Our presentation to the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission went well last night and I’m sorry I had to miss it.

For the past week, I and other company representatives have been in Las Vegas, meeting with Mexican government officials. As we have already announced, International Reactors Inc., a division of Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., has been working with the Mexican Secretary of Energy and various national and state-level elected and appointed officials on proposals for nuclear power plants and associated desalinization plants.

I want to add my voice to those who enthusiastically support closer economic ties with Mexico. As an Idaho-based company, we are proud to be negotiating with the Mexican government and we hope to profitably meet that country’s energy needs.

From my own experience, dealing with the Mexicans has been terrific. They are ambitious, eager to develop their nation and understand the value of partnerships.

We happened to approach them about a year ago as they were revising their national energy plan. They’ve had good experiences with nuclear power, operating the Laguna Verde plant in Veracruz for nearly 20 years. Our first discussions were about the possibility of adding a 1,600-megawatt, advanced third-generation reactor at Laguna Verde (the same reactor type we are proposing for Idaho). While Laguna Verde has been a good investment, supplying 4.2 percent of the country’s electricity, the Mexican government now prefers to have private investors fund and develop these plants, instead of their energy ministry.

After more meetings, we began considering a second reactor in Northern Mexico, to produce electricity for Mexicans and to desalinate seawater, which could then be pumped to farmers regionally, including the American Southwest. We saw even greater potential from there and our conceptual discussions now involve up to five reactors around Mexico.

This is the kind of synergy written about in business magazines. Throughout our negotiations, each of us consistently asked the other, “Yes, but could we do more?” From that, a vision emerged, a vision that fused the interests of our company with those of the Mexican government and people. While they know we are a small start-up company, they see beyond that and appreciate our consistent and recognized experience, ambition and contacts in the nuclear industry. During this process, we found Mexican representatives to be highly motivated and forthright. With any luck, we may well be developing our Mexican reactors before we develop the Idaho Energy Complex.

Last year, Idaho sold nearly $140 million in exported goods to Mexico. Fellow Idaho businesses accompanying Gov. Otter on his trade mission see Mexico as a good market for potatoes, onions, dairy products and frozen foods. We agree – and to that list, we’d add nuclear power plants.

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