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Another vote of support in Elmore County April 1, 2010

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, approval process, economic benefits, Elmore County, environmentalists, nuclear jobs.
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Elmore County P&Z votes to change comprehensive plan
AEHI plan to build nuclear power plant continues to move forward Mountain Home, Idaho

Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. (AEHI:OB) – During a hearing Wednesday night, Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commissioners decided to recommend a change to the wording of the county’s comprehensive plan. The current plan requires industrial development to locate along Simco Road, which was a sticking point for a plan by Alternate Energy Holdings to build a nuclear power plant in another part of the county.

“This latest decision keeps the door open for a possible nuclear power plant in Elmore County and I believe it reflects the commissioners continued desire to keep our project in play. While AEHI’s Payette County site is currently the lead location in Idaho, we also welcome the news that Elmore County is taking such steps to increase the possibility for more economic development,” said Don Gillispie, AEHI CEO.

During the meeting a nuclear power opponent requested the commissioners change the wording of the comprehensive plan in a way that would close the door to a nuclear power plant, which the commissioners refused.

The planned changes include expanding light industrial into areas of city impact and expanding heavy industrial into areas that “will not be detrimental to neighboring and existing land uses”. Those changes will be signed April 21st, after which they will go before the Board of County Commissioners for final approval.

Nuclear power has been recognized as a vital method to increase econimic viability especially in rural communities like those proposed in Elmore and Payette counties. AEHI’s project is estimated to increase employment by more than 5,000 workers through construction, and more than 1,000 during operations. The commercial benefit during construction is even more impressive, increasing the state’s GDP by $5.8 billion, with $4.3 billion of that money filtering directly through the county.

About Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc.: (www.alternateenergyholdings.com) Alternate Energy Holdings develops and markets innovative clean energy sources. The company is the nation’s only publicly traded independent nuclear power plant developer willing to build power plants in non-nuclear states. Other projects include, Energy Neutral which removes energy demands from homes and businesses (www.energyneutralinc.com), Colorado Energy Park (nuclear and solar generation), and International Reactors, which assists developing countries with nuclear reactors for power generation, production of potable water and other suitable applications. AEHI China, headquartered in Beijing, develops joint ventures to produce nuclear plant components and consults on nuclear power. AEHI Korea, Seoul, is helping negotiate with KEPCO.

“Safe Harbor” Statement: This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Sections 27A & 21E of the amended Securities and Exchange Acts of 1933-34, which are intended to be covered by the safe harbors created thereby. Although AEHI believes that the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements contained herein are reasonable, there can be no assurance that these statements included in this press release will prove accurate. As a result, investors should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

MidAmerican energy revisits nuclear, this time in Iowa March 12, 2010

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in Energy policy, nuclear industry, Payette County, Warren Buffet.
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As many people know, Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy proposed building a nuclear power plant in Payette County in 2007 and did some preliminary studies (they were considering a different site than we are in Payette). But the company announced in December 2007 that it wasn’t moving forward, saying the decision was “based on economic considerations and not on issues related to the suitability of the Idaho site.”

Apparently, MidAmerican has found some new sources of funding and is considering building a nuclear plant in Iowa. The state senate there has voted to allow MidAmerican to increase electric consumer rates to fund a three-year, $15 million feasibility study of what would be Iowa’s second nuclear plant, according to World Nuclear News. This will amount to a $4 per year increase in residential customers’ electricity bills, with a $15 increase for commercial customers and $1100 for industrial customers.

I certainly understand the need for this kind of study. In fact, we have spent around $10 million conducting similar studies in Owyhee, Elmore and Payette counties. What’s most noteworthy, however, is that no Idaho utility ratepayer has given us a dime – nor should they.

While our critics call us a “merchant power plant” (presumably merchant farmers, merchant computer chip makers and merchants in general are okay), we are a completely investor-funded operation. We will fund studies, applications and construction of our plant on the private market, without having to ask government bodies for rate increases. In the best tradition of private enterprise, it will be up to us to find a way to make it pencil out financially and recoup our investment in the free market.

Nuclear critics took Buffet’s 2007 withdrawal from Idaho as a sign that a nuclear plant cannot be profitable (although it is hard to imagine them applauding a profitable nuclear plant), but they were wrong then and they are more obviously wrong now. I know from experience that nuclear plants are very profitable, generating as much as $3 million a day in profit. While they have high initial capital costs, uranium is inexpensive and the plants last for decades. Warren Buffet must know this as well.

Developing a nuclear plant requires extensive study and we wish MidAmerican the best in their venture. We have charted a course, however, that will not require any utility payers to subsidize our costs, and that’s a good thing for Idaho.

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.

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.

Nuclear power is a great fit with rural areas October 22, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Elmore County, Energy policy, nuclear industry, reactor types, rural nuclear, Water policy.
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At the Oct. 8 Elmore P and Z hearing, a number of protestors wore stickers saying the wanted to save family farming. I couldn’t agree more and if these protestors were to educate themselves about nuclear plants, they’d know that nuclear power plants make very good neighbors in rural areas.

Because they are quiet, clean and relatively compact, American nuclear reactors fit into a wide variety of settings. Reactors thrive side-by-side with dense urban areas, suburban development, high-end resort towns, farms and wildlife habitat. They discreetly produce large amounts of energy where other options would be inappropriate: coal (emissions), wind (needs large amounts of area, visual concerns, bird and bat deaths) and hydro (disruption to fisheries and land).

There are just a few good examples accessible from GoogleMaps that show nuclear plants and rural areas. All pictures shown from about 20 miles altitude.


Columbia Generating Station, Washington: Borders intensive agricultural uses across the Columbia River. Idaho gets 1 percent of its power from this reactor.


LaSalle 1, Illinois: It doesn’t get more rural than this. Farms are located right up against the plant’s cooling pond.


Prairie Island 1, Minnesota: Farms, suburban development and wildlife habitat are all in operation around this reactor.


Vermont Yankee, Vermont: Homes and farms are less than a mile away with towns less than 5 miles away.


Brunswick 1, North Carolina: Urban and rural uses nearby, including high-end
coastal resort towns.

The Idaho Energy Complex will benefit the agricultural community in other ways. Depending on market demand, the biofuels component of the plant could become a cornerstone of the local agricultural economy. About one-third of the energy in biofuels comes from heat (typically natural gas) to sustain bacterial conversion. By using free excess reactor heat, we believe we could produce ethanol for less than a dollar a gallon. The biofuels plant depends on market availability of crops, but many dairies in the area also produce agricultural waste that could help sustain a biofuels plant. If the crops were grown with below-market electricity, that would further reduce the cost of biofuels. The excess heat from the nuclear plant could be put to other uses, such as greenhouses, manufacturing and food processing.

So, anyone who says nuclear reactors are incompatible with rural areas needs to do their homework!

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.