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New uses for power plant hot water December 9, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, economic benefits, Greenfield nuclear development, nuclear jobs, Water policy.
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Nuclear plants have advanced greatly in reactor design, safety systems, efficiency and reliability since my starting in the industry in the 1960s.

However, one area where nuclear plants – and thermal plants in general – haven’t changed much is dealing with excess heat. With a few exceptions, the approach today is much as it was 50 years ago: site the plant next to a plentiful water supply and use large amounts of water to cool the plant (with about 10-15% being  lost through those large cooling towers ). The industry’s view has been that nuclear plants are for creating large amounts of dependable, low-cost electricity – period – and that’s all baseload plants need to do.

Waste power plant heat has traditionally been viewed as nuisance, but having a plentiful supply of hot water is an incredibly useful thing. In our Idaho reactor, we will be using a hybrid cooling system, so that we’ll only lose to evaporation no more than a million gallons a day. There will be millions of gallons of heated water, however, that could sustain all kinds of industry – imagine a man-made source of geothermal water not quite hot enough to drive a power turbine, but plenty hot enough for dozens of practical uses.

Many industries spend huge amount of money heating water, usually with natural gas. Why not use a virtually free supply of hot water instead? Instead of just dissipating this hot water into the air, it could be useful  co-generation for almost any industrial process:

  • Food processing
  • Fertilizer production
  • Biofuels generation
  • Greenhouses
  • Facilities heating Crop application (where it could extend the growing season up to two weeks in each direction)
  • Recreation and wildlife habitat.

We have already had preliminary discussions with other industries interested in using this excess heat.

We have acquired existing water rights in the area and we have examined the concept of renting water from willing rights holders. Since we only need to rent water for cooling, we could return it to farmers after cooling and they could use it for whatever they were going to do in the first place.

We plan on installing cooling ponds next to our plant, useful for stepping down temperature as needed. Most American nuclear plants are located in farm or wildlife habitat areas so at the very least, the ponds will become incredible wildlife sanctuaries. But there is so much more potential.

Some reactors have used innovative approaches. Arizona’s Palo Verde plant, dating from the early 1970s, is one of the largest in the world and is the only reactor in the middle of a desert. How does it cool itself? It uses treated wastewater from Phoenix and other nearby urban areas. Of course, we aren’t proposing to use municipal wastewater to cool our plant. My point is that innovative approaches to plant cooling have been successfully tried and what we’re proposing is actually much less radical than cooling a reactor with sinks, showers and toilets. Hybrid cooling systems have been used successfully on fossil plants for years.

Of the nation’s 104 nuclear plants, only 4 are west of the Mississippi River. If nuclear plants are ever to become common in the arid West, they need to find new opportunities with cooling and heat disposal. We will take a progressive and pioneering approach with our proposed Payette reactor and use the excess reactor heat for many beneficial uses.

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Snake River Alliance does Idaho no favors June 3, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, anti-renewable energy, economic benefits, Greenfield nuclear development, Mountain Home News, renewable energy, Snake River Alliance.
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[We submitted this opinion to the Mountain Home news last month but space constraints kept it from being published.]

Democracy gives people a lot of latitude in how to get something done, or to stop it from being done. The events over the last few weeks have been really useful in showing how we and the Snake River Alliance differ on those counts. Heat doesn’t substitute for light and even a group as prickly as the Snake River Alliance should know that a civil tone will help public discussion of important issues like energy.

Our efforts to prepare for the April 20 rezone hearing were aboveboard and successful. We launched a public information campaign to let people know about our table to collect resumes and letters of interest and around 500 showed up and wore stickers supporting AEHI. I spoke at clubs, groups, associations, business and anywhere else people would have me, and not all of these venues were friendly.

We collected 1,600 signatures through much hard work going door-to-door, going to food lines, going to workplaces, going to places the SRA wouldn’t bother going. We produced an informational video and mailed it to each household in Elmore County. We sent a letter to every resident of Hammett to address their specific concerns. We launched a traditional advertising campaign and used the new tools of social media to get the word out.

In contrast, the Snake River Alliance prepared for the rezone hearing with bizarre and unethical gimmicks. A week or so before the hearing, the SRA complained to the Glenns Ferry Police Department that I shoved SRA employee Liz Woodruff at a March 10 Glenns Ferry City Council meeting – in a room full of the public, city officials and police officers, no less! The authorities did their duty and, after interviewing me and other people, found the accusation without merit. Clearly, the SRA was fishing for an “October surprise” a week before the rezone hearing, hoping to smear my reputation and throw the meeting into disarray.

These shenanigans have no place in public policy. It probably didn’t help the SRA that Mrs. Woodruff on March 24 publicly apologized to the Glenns Ferry City Council for her childish behavior at that March 10 council meeting, where she sought to disrupt my presentation.

All this is relevant because it speaks to the SRA’s involvement in the public process. As hard as they try to keep a veneer of civility, they openly and behind-the-scenes do what they can do disrupt the local process. Apparently, they were able to restrain themselves more or less for the rezone hearing, but they and their supporters formed “groups” to get more speaking time. Then, individual members of the “groups” spoke, violating the principle the county established for recognizing groups .

Clearly, the SRA does best when surrounded by supporters and friends, but their thin-skinned nature leads them to do some strange things. For example, sometimes the SRA seems immune to common sense. To emphasize that nuclear plants are a good fit with rural areas, we showed pictures of cows grazing a stone’s throw from nuclear plants and Andrea Shipley’s response was to say “the property at issue is not grazed by cows” (actually, cows graze the only adjacent private land). As the SRA well knows, our plant would take up around 200 acres, with the remainder of the 1,300 acre parcel to remain farmland.

To say our plant would “upend surrounding ag uses” is preposterous. For the real story on how our plant would affect the area, see my open letter to the citizens of Hammett at http://www.cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com. There are plenty of photos of nuclear plants surrounded by hayfields, wildlife habitat, estuaries and near small towns (yes, we’re well aware there are no estuaries in Elmore County).

In the face of our campaign, the SRA says the jobs will never materialize – but the SRA is working as hard as it can to stop the jobs from ever materializing. We’ve already put 100 Idahoans to work and as long as investors continue to fund us, that’s their concern, not the SRA’s. They say we haven’t finalized enough details about our plant, but you know if we had every detail plotted out they’d complain we were being presumptuous. At this stage, we are simply seeking to rezone the land, yet they chide us for not having each and every aspect of our plant finalized.

Speaking of our business, Ms. Shipley breathlessly states the obvious in quoting our SEC report, which says “AEHI has limited funds and such funds will not be adequate to carry out the business plan without borrowing significant funds. The ultimate success of AEHI may depend upon its ability to raise additional capital … and it could fail.” OK, so we openly admit don’t have enough money to build a nuclear reactor and need more investment to build it. So? Utilities, developers, companies and anyone else building anything must seek investment capital as well.

Ms. Shipley is either uneducated about start-up public companies, or she is seeking to misrepresent our funding picture. We are the only publicly owned company in the nation seeking to build an independent nuclear power plant; traditional utilities, for whatever reasons, haven’t constructed enough power plants and we are stepping up to meet the demand. Like any other start-up, we seek investment for what we propose. If we get it, we may succeed, and if we don’t, we fail. Anyone who has run a business, or who is not terribly out-of-touch with business, understands that.

The Snake River Alliance’s contempt for working people is evident in its own site, as well as those of supporters. Among the drawbacks of our plant, according to the SRA’s Jan. 9 news release, would be “thousands of construction workers” in Elmore County (http://tinyurl.com/qxgnm9). I guess if someone has a problem with construction workers, that would be a concern, but to people who are willing to work hard and get something built, it’s an insult. Or, this gem from http://tinyurl.com/p43rar, refers this way to people who came to our table: “To what degree will these curbside applicants feel like darned fools?”

If this is the best the Snake River Alliance can offer, it has grossly underestimated our tenacity, the depth of our support and the necessity of our enterprise.

Ms. Shipley claimed I am “obsessed with counting stickers” but that is the closest she comes to acknowledging the truth: People at the meeting were overwhelmingly supportive of the rezone and the SRA’s vaunted community organizing efforts didn’t produce much in that regard. The best Ms. Shipley can do is to discount our efforts to create jobs and say the jobs won’t come soon enough, or at all, or they won’t be for Elmore residents – while simultaneously doing all she can to stop the jobs from ever coming. Tactically, the SRA was out-hustled, but that in itself means nothing as the ultimate measure of success lies with the Elmore County Commission.

Most valuable are the resumes of hundreds of highly qualified, hardworking Idahoans we collected and hope to call on as soon as we can. They and thousands of other supporters hope we prevail over the SRA and its newfound allies.

Anti-nukes use another two-faced approach when they say nuclear power shouldn’t be pursued because we have no place to store or reprocess the waste, but then they work against storage and reprocessing solutions. It’s worth pointing out Areva is planning for reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel in the US (http://tinyurl.com/pwfblo). The firm recently shared with bloggers its conceptual thinking about a 800 ton/year plant which it says is the answer to apparent end of the Yucca Mountain repository project.

Given the traditional antagonism between environmental groups like the SRA and agriculture, it is not surprising Ms. Shipley is out of touch with ag issues. News alert for Ms. Shipley: Farming in Idaho is largely constrained by the high cost of water, because pumping that water is becoming increasingly expensive. Irrigators currently pay close to 4 cents per kilowatt hour, but Idaho Power is asking for an 11.1 percent increase in that rate. Many farmers spend thousands of dollars a month on power costs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, it costs 1.8 cents to produce a kilowatt-hour of electricity with nuclear power, and that power is produced more than 90 percent of the time (http://tinyurl.com/2pgc8k).

This kind of reliable low-cost power is exactly what high-lift irrigators and other farmers need to stay economically competitive. According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind costs around 5 cents per kilowatt hour (http://tinyurl.com/kyg8u) with federal subsidies – when it’s blowing, which is around 20 percent of the time on average. Ms. Shipley should know business can’t operate under those power terms; we only make it work by importing half our energy for out-of-state coal plants.

It strains belief that Ms. Shipley would claim “Idaho is not out of power … Idaho has ample electricity resources.” Perhaps she should tell that laughable claim to the two major employers who bypassed southern Idaho in 2007 because Idaho Power couldn’t provide electricity! Surely, she is just as disappointed as the rest of us about the loss of those jobs.

The fact that Idaho imports half its energy is proof enough that we need to develop our own dispatchable baseload resources in-state. It’s no secret that Idaho Power hasn’t developed a base-load power plant in Idaho in at least 30 years, choosing instead buying shares in out-of-state coal plants. I really can’t blame them; after getting a taste of the difficulty in developing a power plant, I can see why Idaho Power has evidently given up on new baseload power in Idaho.

That brings me to my next point, which is that energy developers of all kinds are facing a harder time getting anything built, and no advocacy groups are stepping forward to support them. As you read this, dozens of rural landowners want to “curb enthusiasm for” and ultimately kill plans to plant wind turbines and string a green-field power line segment across the northern Laramie Range in Wyoming (http://tinyurl.com/polydc). The Northern Laramie Range Alliance is fighting wind energy, which the Snake River Alliance points to as the future of energy generation.

Something tells me the Snake River Alliance and its allies won’t be showing up to help these wind power developers – or anyone who’s trying to build a power plant.

Idaho ranks near bottom of Western states preparing to add generation capacity May 26, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in approval process, economic benefits, Greenfield nuclear development, Uncategorized.
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We sent out this news release this morning. As the only company proposing to build a baseload power plant in Idaho, we understand the urgency for more power generation.

Idaho ranks near bottom of Western states preparing to add generation capacity

Study of federal statistics shows Idaho will add just 412 megawatts by 2011, well below numbers for other states

May 26, 2009

For more information, contact
Martin Johncox, 208-658-9100
Jennie Ransom, 208-939-9311
Web: www.alternateenergyholdings.com
Facebook: http://groups.to/nuclear
Blog: www.cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com

Idaho is ill-prepared to face its future energy needs, according to a study of proposed power plants compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Agency (USEIA).

Between 2008 and 2012, Idaho is scheduled to bring on line 412 megawatts of energy, mostly from natural gas, putting it third from the bottom among the 11 Western states. Idaho’s doing a bit better, however: last year, Idaho ranked dead last among the Western states. This year, some proposed natural gas facilities pushed Idaho’s ranking beyond that of Utah and Montana, which have seen some projects cancelled.

California is the most energy-ambitious state, with 10,416 MW of power proposed to be developed by 2012, followed by Colorado at 2,289 MW. Already, Idaho imports half its electricity, mostly from coal-burning plants in Wyoming and Nevada.

Don Gillispie, president and CEO of Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., praised the state’s efforts to put a higher priority on energy generation. AEHI is seeking to build an advanced nuclear reactor in Elmore County These. Gillispie pointed to the Idaho Department of Commerce hiring a person to work full-time on promoting energy generation in the state and Gov. Otter establishing an Office of Energy Policy directly under him as signs that Idaho leaders take energy development seriously.

Nevertheless, Gillispie said the low ranking shows Idaho needs to start planning seriously for its energy future. Gillispie noted his plant is the only large base-load plant currently proposed for Idaho. At the same time, the USEIA forecasts energy demand in the U.S. will grow by 42 percent by 2030. In late 2007, two major employers announced they were bypassing southern Idaho because utilities couldn’t provide them with enough electricity and Hoku Materials has been having trouble finding sufficient energy for its polysilicon facility near Pocatello.

“Idaho has about 1,100 megawatts of in-state generating capacity and it took us nearly a century to build it up,” Gillispie said. “If we’re going to provide for our future energy needs, we’ve really got to get on the ball and start adding capacity.”

The AEHI reactor, proposed for Elmore County, isn’t included in USEIA listings because it’s still in the preliminary stages and the plant will start generating electricity in 2016 at the soonest. Gillispie has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of his intent to build a reactor.

Gillispie also said much of the power expected to be produced in Idaho in the USEIA report could be sold out-of-state. For example, the Goshen II wind farm, recently approved for construction in Bonneville County, has already agreed to sell its wind to Southern California utilities for the next 20 years. Gillispie has consistently pledged to offer electricity from his proposed plant to Idaho utilities. Gillispie also said his proposed plant, the Idaho Energy Complex, could power all the homes in Idaho three times over, meaning there will be plenty of electricity to meet in-state needs and also to sell to neighboring states.

“Our opponents are concerned our power may be sold out-of-state but looking at the current trend, it’s much more likely we will be forced to import even more of our power, paying increased transmission and production costs to out-of-state utilities,” Gillispie said. “More than ever, we need the reliable, non-polluting, high-volume energy that nuclear produces.”

According to the USEIA figures, the 11 Western states are scheduled to bring on line nearly 22,000 MW of power between 2008 and 2012, up from 20,000 MW between 2007 and 2011; most of the energy will come from natural gas. A megawatt is enough energy to power about 850 homes (fewer in times of high demand and more in times of lower demand), not counting agriculture, industry or commerce.

Idaho imports half its energy, while California imports just 22 percent of its energy. Much of Idaho’s imported energy comes from coal plants in Wyoming and Nevada owned by Idaho Power. Idaho gets about 1 percent of its electricity from the nuclear Hanford Generating Station in Washington.

Idaho looks a little better on a per-capita basis, adding about 294 watts per person between 2008 and 2012, based on a current population of 1.4 million. By comparison, California will be adding about 274 watts per person during that time, based on a current population of 38 million.

Idahoans use more electricity, however. On a per-capita basis, Idahoans in 2003 used 15,510 kilowatt-hours (12th highest in the nation and second among Western states), compared to 6,732 kWh per person in California (lowest in the nation); see www.energy.ca.gov/electricity/us_percapita_electricity_2003.html. Idaho has a high concentration of agriculture and computer hardware manufacturing, which demand large amounts of electricity.

Gillispie and other analysts said the power supply operates on a regional basis. The more regional supply increases relative to demand, the more downward pressure there will be on prices. So, even if an energy plant exports electricity across state lines, that will increase regional supply and help keep prices lower.

ABOUT THE IDAHO ENERGY COMPLEX: The Idaho Energy Complex (www.alternateenergyholdings.com) will be a large advanced nuclear reactor with low cooling water requirements located about 65 miles southeast of Boise, in Elmore County. The Elmore County Commission is expected to decide in June or July on an application from the company to rezone land for the reactor

Current table: Megawatts of electrical generation planned by year for each Western state,2008-2012

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

TOTAL
California

1,250

2,275

1,681

1,737

3,473

10,416

Nevada

1,626

0

28

635

0

2,289

Washington

1,140

539

54

0

0

1,733

Arizona

249

495

0

615

280

1,639

Colorado

294

1,108

0

0

0

1,402

Wyoming

573

1

90

390

320

1,374

Oregon

385

102

0

584

0

1,071

New Mexico

860

110

0

0

0

970

Idaho

262

128

4

18

0

412

Montana

0

121

150

70

0

341

Utah

54

0

20

0

0

74

Previous table: Megawatts of electrical generation planned by year for each Western state, 2007-2011

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

TOTAL
California

1,533

358

1,724

1,350

1,377

6,342

Colorado

1,189

271

1,459

0

0

2,919

Nevada

135

1,571

0

28

658

2,392

Washington

448

862

0

310

339

1,949

New Mexico

110

1,356

0

0

0

1,466

Oregon

836

584

0

0

0

1,420

Wyoming

90

0

0

440

710

1,240

Arizona

0

249

630

0

0

879

Utah

579

30

0

120

0

729

Montana

2

500

91

0

0

593

Idaho

146

191

0

0

0

337

Source: United States Energy Information Agency table at www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/planned_capacity_state.xls released Jan. 29, 2009

Thanks to the hundreds who came to support jobs, agriculture and clean energy last night April 24, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, approval process, economic benefits, Elmore County, Greenfield nuclear development, rural nuclear, Uncategorized.
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To the hundreds of people who came out to support us at the Elmore County Commission hearing, thank you all so much. The commissioners have a difficult task but you helped them understand that our proposed rezone will allow Idaho to have a dependable jobs and power for farms, industry, homes and commerce. Below is a news release we have distributed about it.

Elmore County Commission to decide on nuclear plant rezone
Hundreds turn out to support proposal to rezone 1,300 acres for nuclear plant that would create thousands of jobs

April 23, 2009
For more information, contact:
Jennie Ransom, AEHI spokeswoman 208-939-9311
Martin Johncox, 208-658-9100

Hundreds of people packed a hearing room Wednesday night to show their support of a proposal to rezone 1,300 acres of land for a power plant. The Elmore County Commission will discuss and decide the rezone at a future hearing, which hasn’t yet been announced.

The commission heard four hours of testimony from than 36 supporters and 32 opponents of the rezone. Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., which is proposing to build a nuclear plant at the site, submitted an additional 240 signatures in support of the rezone Wednesday night, bringing total signatures in support to 1,600, about half of them from Elmore County.

The meeting was held at the Mountain Home Junior High School and more than 400 people showed up to an AEHI-sponsored table on the sidewalk by the school to submit resumes and letters of interest about jobs; most of these people also went to the county commission hearing to emphasize the need for economic development. AEHI is committed to hiring locally and wanted to collect worker information now due to the need to phase in workers over a number of years. Company officials have said the high number of former and current military personnel in Elmore County make it an ideal place for finding prospective employees, who must have clean backgrounds.

Supporters said the rezone is a private property and jobs issue, while opponents said the landowner shouldn’t be entitled to rezone his land. Opponents, including several farmers who live next to the property, repeatedly referred to the property as “our farm land” said they would like to farm it themselves (although they did not buy it when it was for sale recently), which couldn’t happen if it were rezoned. Gillispie pointed out the nuclear plant would have a footprint of only 200 acres, leaving most of the remaining 1,100 acres for farming.

The company’s 2007 economic study, based on other American nuclear plants, calculated AEHI’s proposed plant would grow employment in Elmore and Owyhee counties by 25 percent and generate 4,230 jobs statewide during construction, including a total annual payroll impact of $839 million. It would also generate 1,004 annual jobs statewide during operation during its 60-year lifespan, with an annual statewide payroll impact of $57 million. Average annual wages would be $80,000 for plant employees and $33,536 in industries indirectly affected. Total annual labor income impacts in Owyhee and Elmore counties during operation would be $52.3 million. Opponents also said the company’s claims about job creation were part of a “marketing plan” but did not provide any evidence to refute the company’s job analysis. Some opponents discounted the depth of the economic crisis facing the nation and state and the need for additional non-agricultural jobs in Elmore County.

Supporters noted the nuclear plant would emit no odor, smoke, dust or noise. Gillisipie’s PowerPoint showed photos of nuclear plants with cows and farm fields next to them, but opponents avoided mention of these photos. Supporter also noted the Boise area has had to turn away major employers because of lack of energy, arguing that rezoning the land would be in the county’s interest.

The Idaho Energy Complex (www.idahoenergycomplex.com) will be a large advanced nuclear reactor with low cooling water requirements located about 65 miles southeast of Boise, in Elmore County. Company officials plan to submit a Combined Operating License Application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2010. The approval process is expected to take three years and cost $80 million. Construction could begin as soon as late 2012 and finish with power generation beginning in late 2016.

Information: http://www.energyforelmore.com and http://www.cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com

Open letter to the people of Hammett April 15, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, approval process, economic benefits, Elmore County, Greenfield nuclear development, rural nuclear, Water policy.
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We recently sent this letter to the people of Hammett, as they are the closest town to our power plant.

April 7, 2009

Dear Hammett resident,

As you know, my company, Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., is proposing to build a nuclear power plant near your town. If the Elmore County Commission approves our rezone request April 22, it will mean some changes for all of Elmore County and Hammett. There has been some concern about how a nuclear plant will affect the rural lifestyle of Elmore County so I want to explain some things to you in this letter about my company’s intentions and goals.

Nuclear plants may seem large, but they produce lots of power in a relatively small area. To generate the same amount of power, for example, a wind farm would need to cover about 100 times the area of a nuclear plant with 40-story-tall turbines and thousands of miles of access roads (and only produce electricity less than 20 percent of the time, compared to 92 for nuclear). Our plant will emit no odors, dust or noise, be well-landscaped and have a low profile, with none of those large cooling towers.

I know people are concerned about water. Any water our plant uses will have to come from existing water rights, whose holders willingly provide us with water, with fair compensation. Old-style nuclear plants consume up to 30 million of gallons a day, but our plant will use a hybrid cooling system, using heat sinks and fans to cool water. When water is scarce, a hybrid plant can throttle back its consumption greatly, spending an extra one-half to 1.5 percent of its power output to cool itself. If nuclear plants are to be possible in dry places, new approaches will have to be used.

What does a power plant mean for Hammett residents? There will be growing pains as the plant is built, but it will last 60 or more years, providing high paying job opportunities for young people to remain in the community. If you earn your living in the local economy, the plant will bring business opportunities. If your livelihood is tied to the regional or national economies, you will see expanded opportunities from low power costs. For example, Idaho farmers can’t compete without low cost electricity.

We are looking to acquire rights up to 10 million gallons a day but our hybrid cooling system will keep our net consumption of water between 100,000 and 1 million gallons a day (about as much as 140 acres of irrigated land). We are looking at the possibility of renting water – since we won’t actually have to consume much water, we can use it for cooling and return it to farmers. The warmer water could potentially extend the growing season up to two weeks each direction and give farmers another source of income. Winter greenhouses would be another beneficiary of abundant hot water.

Low-cost power built on coal and hydro sustains Idaho’s agricultural industry, but coal is on the way out and hydro is maxed out. To maintain current farming, and to bring more idle ground into production, we need low-cost power. Now only nuclear can provide that same low cost power. As a public company, Idahoans hold the majority of our stock. We are literally vested in Idaho and we want to be good neighbors.

Several people have asked me how I would feel if a nuclear power plant was proposed next to my home. If I were someone who had devoted their life to a place, living and working and raising a family there, I would understandably be concerned at the changes the plant would bring to a place I had known all my life. I might even oppose the plant if it were close enough to be prominently seen as an industrial facility or was noisy or emitted an odor, but this plant won’t do any of that. At the very least, I would want to know what the developer would do to ensure the plant would be a good neighbor, pay its fair share and give back to the community. Any large construction project will create some inconvenience on a community and any good developer will fairly compensate the people who live there, and then some.

We are proposing the following if our plant is built. These are standard things that good companies should do during construction, and to give back to the community:

  • A committee to oversee service needs. This committee would be a partnership of local officials, neighbors and plant representatives. It would examine demands that construction would place on fire, schools, housing, roads, administration, etc., and make recommendations for meeting those needs, including what compensation the plant would need to make to keep services well-funded.
  • Direct infrastructure funding. Nuclear plants typically pay for fire stations, vehicles, equipment, road improvements, etc., necessary to serve the plant and benefit the community.
  • Payment of local property taxes. This could involve paying money directly to the county to reduce the bill for all taxpayers, or focusing tax relief on the neighbors most closely affected. Building the plant will put thousands to work but will also burden residents somewhat in the short-run. These payments would be intended to compensate people for any potential disruption to their lives.
  • Local scholarships. Elmore County would receive scholarships to study sciences at colleges of their choice. We hope these promising young people would come back to Elmore County and maybe even work at our plant. But our main incentive would be to fulfill the responsibility of technology industries to help the next generation of engineers and scientists.
  • Job training. Most jobs at a nuclear plant don’t require a college degree, but they require specialized training. We propose to pay the full costs of Elmore County residents who earn training certification, or college degrees, and who commit to work at our plant.
  • A community center. County residents would need to discuss where this could be constructed. I think Hammett could be a good location if people there want it. This would be a place for neighborhood meetings, youth programs, training and local government meetings. For security reasons, access to nuclear plants is highly restricted, so this could be a place where neighbors could meet with plant representatives to discuss problems and opportunities.

America currently has 104 nuclear reactors, most of them in rural areas, where they are quiet, clean and compact. American nuclear plants bring jobs, greater prosperity and preserve the rural way of life. For example, In 2005 – after nearly 50 years of commercial nuclear power – a Bisconti poll found 83 percent living close to nuclear plants favor nuclear energy. The survey only questioned residents within 10 miles of an operating nuclear plant also found that 85 percent give the nearest nuclear power plant a “high” safety rating, and that 88 percent are confident that the company operating the power plant can do so safely.

Thank you for your time and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, 939-9311 or info@aehipower.com. We look forward to seeing you at the County Commission meeting on Wednesday, April 22, at 6 p.m. in the Mountain Home Junior High School auditorium. If any of you are interested in learning more about jobs at the plant, we will be taking letters of interest and resumes. You can also see our site at http://www.alternateenergyholdings.com or http://www.cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com.

Don Gillispie

CEO

Hope in a bad economy February 13, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, approval process, economic benefits, Elmore County, Energy policy, Greenfield nuclear development, Mountain Home News, Politics and nuclear, rural nuclear.
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The news in last week’s Mountain Home News was unsettling. Unemployment in the county has reached 7 percent in Elmore County – not a devastating figure, but high for a place with a normally robust economy, and slightly ahead of the state figure of 6.6 percent. Loss of jobs at Micron, the closing of a potato processing plant, a poor Christmas season and fewer car sales are behind much of the job unemployment.

According to the story, people are taking lower-paying jobs to get through but “… in general, if you’re looking for high-paying jobs, you’re not going to find it in Elmore County. You’re probably going to have to move. There just aren’t any jobs like that here,” said Albert Clement, who runs the local Idaho Department of Labor office. Unemployment benefits are essential, Clement said, because “this is outside money coming and outside money tends to roll over several times” before it leaves the local economy.

The bright spots in the economy are construction at the air base, the Marathon Cheese factory and Wal-Mart.

These are uncertain times for the state and national economies. With a new administration, Mountain Home Air Force Base may once again be at risk of shrinkage or closure. At a time like this, it is worth revisiting our 2007 economic study by Johnson Gardner of Portland, Ore.

Nuclear plants generate energy that is second only to hydro in low cost, because uranium is a cheap and potent fuel, but nuclear plants are capital intensive. That’s good news for communities that develop nuclear plants, as they will enjoy plentiful construction jobs for several years and later reap the benefits of jobs that pay an average of $80,000 a year. Our reactor will remain a mainstay of Idaho’s economy – you can be sure we won’t offshore to Asia. We will be here to stay.

Our 2007 economic study found our plant will (amounts are in 2006 dollars):

·             Create a total commercial impact of $2.6 billion during construction – a boost of nearly 6 percent to the State’s economy.

·             Generate 4,230 jobs statewide during construction, including a total annual payroll impact of $839 million – nearly 2 percent of the payroll in Idaho.

·             Generate ripple economic effects of $237 million during construction in Ada, Canyon, and Bonneville counties.

·             Create a total commercial impact of $155 million a year during operation.

·             Generate 1,004 annual jobs statewide during operation (estimated 60 years or more) with an annual statewide payroll impact of $57 million.

·             Pay average annual wages of $80,000 to plant employees (267 percent of Idaho average) and pay would be $33,536 (112 percent of Idaho average) in industries indirectly affected.

·             Produce annual state tax revenues of $74 million during operation.

·             Grow employment in Elmore and Owyhee counties by 25 percent.

·             Produce total annual labor income impacts in Owyhee and Elmore counties of $52.3 million during operation.

·             Permanent IEC operation would single-handedly boost State General Fund revenues by 3.3 percent annually.

The report estimated there are enough Idaho workers to fill most of the construction jobs. Whenever possible, we will use workers, engineers, consultants and businesses from Owyhee County, Idaho and the Northwest region.

Oddly, while our opponents criticize us for possibly selling power out of state (as wind farms and geothermal plants already do), the other side of the coin is that our plant will greatly benefit Elmore County’s economy because it will, in fact, bring in money from out of state!

Even with no new plants under construction, the development process is putting people to work. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, “nuclear energy is one of the few bright spots in the US economy – expanding rather than contracting.”

The NEI report says the prospect of new plant construction in has already stimulated considerable investment and job creation among companies that supply the nuclear industry: “over the last several years, the nuclear industry has invested over $4 billion in new nuclear plant development, and plans to invest approximately $8 billion in the next several years to be in a position to start construction in 2011-2012.”

In the course of this, NEI said, “private investment in new nuclear power plants has created an estimated 14,000-15,000 jobs.” The number of new jobs “will expand dramatically after 2011 when the first wave of these new nuclear projects starts construction.”

The Simco Road designated industrial zone recommended by Elmore P&Z cannot accommodate nuclear plant January 16, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, approval process, economic benefits, Elmore County, Energy policy, Greenfield nuclear development, rural nuclear, Water policy.
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On Jan. 12, I was invited to make a presentation before the Mountain Home City Council on our efforts to develop a large advanced nuclear reactor in Elmore County.

In November, the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended against rezoning approximately 1,400 acres of land to accommodate our plant, saying heavy industrial development should be located in a zone near Simco Road, even as wind, solar and natural gas power are permitted elsewhere in the county.

In response to a Mountain Home City Council member’s question regarding siting of the plant in the Simco Road area, the following is my reply:

After some research we have concluded the Simco Road site does not qualify for a nuclear plant and even if it did, there does not appear to be any property available. The following are some of the reasons.

The Simco Road site has no water supply so a dedicated water line of more than 20 miles would need to be constructed. A large safety-related pipeline would add hundreds of millions in expense and create security and right-of-way concerns; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would disapprove the Simco Road site for the water supply security issue alone. Our current site is one mile from the Snake River, an ideal location for water access without a security issue.

Elmore County's proposed Simco Road industrial site is closer to Boise development than it is to Mountain Home

Elmore County's proposed Simco Road industrial site is closer to Boise development than it is to Mountain Home

The Simco Road location has geologic issues that could make qualification expensive, if it is possible at all, on account of strict NRC requirements regarding geologic stability. Preliminary geologic testing confirms our existing site has no such potential issues.

Key parcels along the Simco Road site are under option by other parties,

Our proposed location will ensure many economic benefits stay concentrated in Elmore County

Our proposed location will ensure many economic benefits stay concentrated in Elmore County

making it unavailable for a nuclear plant site. Our current proposed site is optioned and ready for the development process.

The Simco Road area is 7 miles from Boise’s industrial area and 21 miles from Mountain Home, along the Ada-Elmore county border. Elmore County would lose much of the employment revenue as employees would likely live in Boise, as suggested by our economic study. Elmore County would lose in housing starts and commercial and other economically beneficial opportunities. Our existing site is 12 miles from Mountain Home, thus in a better position of supporting economic development in Elmore County.

Elmore County’s comprehensive plan is well-intentioned, but it did not foresee the development of such a major economic benefactor like our proposed plant and the associated regulatory requirements. We look forward to our presentation before the Elmore County Commission in April for the final word on if our plant – and the economic benefits it will bring – will become possible in Elmore County.

We aren’t the only ones with this belief. One of our critics agrees the Simco Road site is lacking for our kind of development.

Idaho Statesman publishes our response December 24, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, economic benefits, Elmore County, Energy policy, Greenfield nuclear development, Idaho Statesman, nuclear industry, Politics and nuclear, reactor types, reprocessing, rural nuclear, Snake River Alliance, Water policy.
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For the past 30 years, the nuclear industry has kept a low profile, producing more energy with fewer reactors and with the best safety record imaginable. The industry is now making an effort to better publicize itself and that includes responding to misinformation.

The Idaho Statesman was kind enough to print this response to a recent Sierra Club column. You can see the online version at The Statesman’s site as well as the ensuing discussion.

Jennie Ransom: Nuclear power is very much a part of our green energy future

READER’S VIEW: ENERGY
Edition Date: 12/23/08

jennifer-ransomJessica Ruehrwein’s Nov. 12 Reader’s View repeats many of the same myths about nuclear power and we must present the truth. (While we disagree with Ruehrwein, her tone is a welcome change from the trademark incivility of the Snake River Alliance.)

Anti-nuclear activists are becoming increasingly isolated. Indeed, Scott Howson, one of Ruehrwein’s colleagues and chairman of the Rappahannock Group of the Sierra Club, said, “I see a solution ultimately in nuclear energy. It’s non-polluting, and that’s what we’re all looking for.”

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Wildlife Habitat Council, African-American Environmentalist Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Environmental Defense are also willing to consider nuclear as part of a solution to global warming. In this past election, both Barack Obama and John McCain supported nuclear, as did all Idaho Republican and Democrat congressional candidates. A record 74 percent of Americans favor nuclear energy, according to a September 2008 Bisconti survey.

Like many people, I used to be opposed to nuclear power, until I did my homework. There is no other source of carbon-free power that can provide the reliable, low-cost energy our nation needs to remain secure and prosperous.

Alternate Energy Holdings is proposing the Idaho Energy Complex (www.idahoenergycomplex.com), the first base-load power plant in Idaho in 30 years. In contrast to first-generation reactors that need 30 million gallons of water daily, we’ll consume as few as 100,000, thanks to a hybrid cooling design. Water will move through the facility for cooling and go to farmers, a biofuels facility and greenhouses. Our opponents know this, yet they continue repeating misinformation (see our blog at cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com).

It is true nuclear plants have high capital costs. The trade-off is that nuclear fuel is very inexpensive. A pound of uranium sells for about $45, yet a fuel pellet the size of your fingertip produces as much energy as 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas or 1,780 pounds of coal.

Despite the supportive rhetoric, environmentalists routinely oppose wind farms because of their potential to decimate bird and bat populations and the large amounts of land they consume. In contrast, nuclear plants take up relatively little land, fit both urban and rural areas and the land around them typically becomes habitat. Ruehrwein also omits mention of the subsidies that all forms of energy require, including renewables.

The spent fuel from American reactors over the past 50 years could cover a football field about 15 feet deep. That’s not much when you consider nuclear provides 20 percent of our nation’s energy and 80 percent of its carbon-free energy. All this spent fuel can be reprocessed into more fuel, as in other countries, but we don’t reprocess because of environmentalist opposition.

Our opponents conveniently forget to mention the merchant wind farms and geothermal producers that are already exporting Idaho power. They join the merchant farmers, food processors and computer chip makers who bring money and provide jobs in Idaho. The IEC would generate more energy than we could consume in the current market and help capture some of the $2 billion that Idahoans send out of state for power annually.

Oddly, critics seem to have no problem with merchant renewables. And neither do we. In truth, we have much in common with opponents in our support of renewable energy. However, we – and most Americans and political leaders – know national economic and security interests demand a mainstream, inclusive approach that recognizes renewable, nuclear, natural gas and other clean and low-carbon approaches.

Given nuclear power’s contributions and stellar safety record, we believe it is extremist and closed-minded to exclude any form of energy from our nation’s future.

Jennie Ransom is vice-president of administration of Alternate Energy Holdings Inc.

Thanks to the Mountain Home news December 16, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, approval process, balanced approach, Elmore County, Energy policy, Greenfield nuclear development, Mountain Home News, nuclear industry, Politics and nuclear, reactor types, renewable energy, Snake River Alliance, Water policy.
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As our application in Elmore County moves forward, there is understandably some debate on the issue. Recently, the Mountain Home News published a letter by Leonard Hutterman. The paper was kind enough to provide us space to respond to Mr. Hutterman and our response is reprinted below:

Gillispie says nation will depend on nuclear power

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dear editor:
Leonard Hutterman’s recent letter in the Mountain Home News is thought-provoking and will surely increase discussion of our region’s and nation’s energy future.

While we agree with many of Mr. Hutterman’s statements about the need for a balanced energy portfolio in Elmore County, we should clarify some of his assertions about nuclear and renewable energies.

We agree that renewable, nuclear and clean fossil generation all have a place in our energy portfolio. That’s a stark departure from the Snake River Alliance, which claims to favor an unbalanced approach of renewables only (curiously, they cannot bring themselves to show up at public hearings and testify in support of embattled wind farm developers; I personally think they don’t have the stomach to face a roomful of angry citizens, but that’s another story).

Our economy and security depends on a diverse energy portfolio and base-load electricity — power that is affordable, stable and absolutely reliable.

Mr. Hutterman ranked his preferences for power, quoted below in italics. We’d like to add some information to his ranking so people can make more fully informed decisions.

1. “Wind requires no water and uses little productive space and take[s] advantage of wind, of which we have plenty.” In reality, except for a few locations, Idaho only has mediocre wind potential suitable for large power production, according to www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.as…; wind cannot fill the power demands of Idaho, let alone the region. Also, wind farms require large amounts of land and roads, can kill many birds and bats, create annoying low-frequency sounds and throw dangerous ice from turbine blades. To produce as much electricity as our proposed nuclear plant, a wind farm would require about 100 times as much area (and only produce energy 17 percent of the time, compared to 92 percent for nuclear).

2. “Solar requires little or no water, uses a lot of space, and needs more sun then we have.” A new generation of thermal solar installations use sunlight to heat water to drive turbines. This improves reliability over photovoltaic solar, but does require water. So far, solar has been only 25 percent reliable.

3. “Geothermal is available in the county but the technology is not yet available to recover it efficiently.” True. Most geothermal in Idaho is marginal for electrical generation. Its best use is for heating homes and greenhouses.

4. “Natural gas based power has been developed and will likely continue to be developed in the county but it has a high cost and so many things can be made from it that using it for more than back-up power is a waste, and we are only converting it to electric not producing.” True. Natural gas is most efficiently used for heating water and buildings. While it is expensive for generating electricity, it is good for meeting summer peaking power demands, because natural gas can be brought online quickly. It emits half the carbon dioxide of coal, contributing to global warming.

5. “Nuclear based power uses water, the design determines the amount and it can be held to reasonable amounts. The public perception of the safety is out of line with reality but it is nonetheless their reality.” True. Dam collapses killed 8,000 people in the 20th century, coal pollution tens of thousands, and there are zero radiation deaths from Western commercial nuclear power. You’d have to live next to a nuclear plant for several thousand years to get as much radiation as a typical X-ray. Yet thanks to environmentalist hysteria and bad science fiction, some people still cling to the belief that nuclear power is dangerous. But, as I’ll explain in a bit, public opinion now solidly supports nuclear.

6. “Coal-based power and the clean coal technologies is an improvement over the old coal power plants but it still has a way to go.” Ironically, extreme environmentalists have contributed to global warming through their maniacal opposition to nuclear. Without nuclear, coal is the only suitable base-load source and environmentalists for decades have been content to let America meet half its power needs through coal.

It’s true that nuclear power requires water. In fact, any form of thermal power (boiling water to drive turbines) requires water for generation and cooling. Old-style nuclear reactors, with their oddly-shaped cooling towers, are notorious for consuming 30 million gallons a day, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

We will be using a hybrid cooling system, commonly used on fossil thermal plants in dry areas. Instead of the large cooling towers, we will cool our plant by circulating water through a system of fans, heat sinks and ponds. While we will need to run fewer than 10 million gallons of water a day through our plant, we will only consume 100,000 gallons. The rest of the warm water will be returned to productive agricultural use through farming, greenhouses and a biofuels plant. We will have to obtain existing water rights, since new water rights are not obtainable for the Snake River. The rumors that we will suck the Snake River dry are simply false.

For more than a year now, we’ve made these facts very clear, yet our opponents continue to insist our plant will use 30 million gallons a day. Every time we present this information to them, they do the equivalent of staring at us, blinking hard, then turning around and repeating the misinformation in an even louder voice.

Regarding public opinion, a record 74 percent of Americans favor nuclear energy, according to a September 2008 Bisconti survey. The survey also found only 11 percent of Americans strongly oppose new nuclear plants. Both presidential candidates and all Republican and Democrat candidates for federal office in Idaho supported nuclear.

It was unusual to read Mr. Hutterman’s comment that we should publish more information about our company. We have two Web sites, www.idahoenergycomplex.com and www.alternateenergyholdings.com, and a blog at www.cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com, and we have had many news stories written about our company, technology, intentions and financing. The extensive information about our endeavors and personal histories on each of these sites should answer many questions and I invite anyone to email us questions at info@aehipower.com.

Also on my blog, I address the economic impact of our plant, how nuclear power plants are very compatible with rural areas, the out-of-state selling of Idaho’s wind and geothermal energy, and many other matters, so I won’t repeat them here. Suffice to say I answer many of the very valid questions Mr. Hutterman and others pose.

I look forward to working with Mr. Hutterman and other progressive-minded Elmore County residents on the county’s and the nation’s nuclear future.

Don Gillispie

president and CEO

Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc.

Clearing the water October 30, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, approval process, Elmore County, Energy policy, Greenfield nuclear development, nuclear industry, Politics and nuclear, reactor types, Snake River Alliance, Water policy.
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There are several misconceptions about the water usage for the Idaho Energy Complex –  misconceptions actively promoted by our opposition. Stuck in out-of-the-mainstream environmentalist thought, their knowledge about nuclear energy technology is just as outdated.

Here are several of the myths eagerly promoted by our opposition

  • The Idaho Energy Complex will completely drain the Snake River and deny existing farms their water.
  • All nuclear plans necessarily must consume tens of millions of gallons of water a day.
  • Hybrid cooling technology doesn’t exist, can’t exist, or is untested.
  • Our plant will need new water rights for cooling water and of course no new water rights exist.
  • We will put radioactive water in the river.

I’d like to deal with the fourth point first. It is intentionally misleading to say our plant can’t work because new water rights are unobtainable. It is true the Snake River is over-allocated and new water rights are hard to get. But any water our plant uses will have to come from existing water rights; the water is out there and it will be our responsibility to negotiate water rights transfers from willing parties. The land we are proposing to build upon already has existing water rights. We will keep water in a reservoir on our land for agricultural re-use as well (see Oct. 22 and Sept. 29 blog entries).

Unlike a solar plant or wind farm, a nuclear plant has a relatively small geographic footprint and doesn’t need to displace much farm land. In fact, we will help agriculture by providing low-cost power. There are many acres of prime farmland that cannot be farmed due to power costs.

Also, not all water rights are seasonal and there are winter water rights. True, winter water levels are much lower, but in cold weather, power plant cooling works more efficiently and we will need less water.

Another myth is that nuclear plants necessarily must consume tens of millions of gallons a day for cooling and that hybrid cooling that can’t and won’t work. True, the old-style plants consume that much (those giant waisted cooling towers with steam coming out the top), because they put out enormous amounts of power and are situated in water-rich areas. But any kind of power plant that creates steam to turn turbines (“thermal” plants) need water. In fact, 90 percent of the non-hydro power plants worldwide produce power in this way and most of them consume large amounts of water for cooling.

The Idaho Energy Complex will use a hybrid cooling system, described here. While traditional wet plants consume huge amounts of water, hybrid plants use water very conservatively, using what amounts to a very large radiator to blow away heat. When water is scarce, a hybrid plant can throttle back its consumption greatly. Dominion Generation has applied to build a third reactor North Anna plant in Virginia with a hybrid system.

A hybrid nuclear plant may spend an extra one-half to 1.5 percent of its power output to cool itself, making it less efficient than a wet-cooled plant, but using only 10 percent or less of the water of a wet-cooled plant. Not only do dry-type plants conserve water, they are also more benign to aquatic life.

Arid environments force new approaches and the few nuclear plants in dry places sometimes use innovative solutions. The Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona is the country’s largest, located a state that’s even more parched than Idaho. As the only nuclear power plant in the world not next to a lake, river or ocean, its cooling method is highly unusual – it is cooled with municipal wastewater.

So, when our opposition says hybrid-type cooling is unproven, they are very wrong. Even more radical cooling methods are used successfully (i.e., municipal wastewater), hybrid cooling is used on fossil plants and a hybrid wet/dry system is in the process in Virginia.

Another misconception is that we’ll consume all the water we use. We are looking to acquire rights up to 10 million gallons a day for cooling, but with a hybrid cooling system, we will keep our net consumption of water to around 100,000 gallons a day (see Sept. 29 entry). This is fully in line with Areva’s third-generation European Production Reactor that we are considering using; depending on the cooling system, these reactors use anywhere from under one million gallons per day to 41 million gallons a day.

As for putting radioactive water in the river, that claim is either mindless or mendacious or both. The river water that goes through the plant for cooling has no contact with anything radioactive. It is the same cooling process used for fossil steam plant cycles. The Snake River naturally has high levels of tritium, a radioactive gas, but we won’t be contributing to it.