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Water usage and nuclear power plants April 23, 2010

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in nuclear industry, Water policy.
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Water usage and nuclear power plants is little known in the U.S., even in areas where water is at a premium such as in the semi-arid western states, where most of the fresh water is consumed in this country. Here are the facts:

  • About 80% is used for irrigation and much of that is for golf courses, lawns, parks, recreation fields, swimming pools and commercial property beautification. 2 billion gallons per day is used on golf courses alone.
  • Approximately 10% is used for industry and business.
  • About 7% is used for household use including some irrigation.
  • The remainder, around 3.0% is used for thermal power plants. Nuclear, coal, combined cycle gas, CSP solar and geothermal are thermal plants.  Coal plants are by far the largest user, followed by nuclear plants, and finally combined cycle gas plants in order of power production.

Figures from the above graph are very similar for Idaho except only about .01% of the fresh water is used for thermal power plants.

Note:
It is critical to point out just how much water leaves southern Idaho on an annual basis without ever being used.  In fact, 7,900,000 acre feet of water leaves the state every year via the Snake River, which has the Payette River as one of its tributaries
.

A proposed nuclear power plant in Payette County would use less than 1% of this water.

(Source: SPF Water Engineering)

What sources of electricity require the most water?

  • There are 2400 hydroelectric plants in the United States that require the largest amount of water than any other power producer.  However, hydro plants only produce 7% of the nation’s electricity and around 40% in Idaho, which is decreasing according to the Athena report. (http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/IdahoEnergy/IdahoEnergyFuture_PR.pdf)  While there is some evaporation behind the dams, much of the water is held for production of often small amounts of power instead of flood control even when the water is needed in semi-arid climates for crop irrigation and industry.  There are no emissions with hydro, however, these plants negatively impact the environment in a variety of ways including fish passage and silting.
  • There are 600 coal plants in the U.S., which require more water than any other thermal power source due to the large number of units.  Coal produces 50% of the nation’s electricity, but they have the worst emissions of all power sources.  Many of these emissions contain mercury, sulfur and CO2.
  • There are 104 nuclear plants in the U.S. which use less water with fewer units than coal.  Nuclear power plants produce 20% of the nation’s electricity and 70% of all emission-free electricity.
  • Combine-cycle gas plants use the least amount of water of all the major power sources because they are the smallest power contributor.  However, these plants are rapidly growing in number and emit a large amount of CO2, although those emissions are about half the amount of an equivalent size coal plant.
  • Geothermal plants produce less than 1% of the nation’s power and use water much like any equivalent size thermal plant.  However, many of these plants have to inject water into the earth, which requires even more of this valuable resource.
  • Solar power plants, while contributing less than 1% of our electricity, use more water than thermal plants to wash the panels and for cooling of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP).
  • Almost all thermal power plants require about the same amount of water to cool a megawatt using conventional cooling methods.

Nuclear plant water usage:

There is a great deal of misinformation surrounding nuclear plant water usage often propagated by opponents of nuclear power. Water is recirculated for cooling of the power plant and it is consumed by the plant as well.  Here’s a look at the facts:

  • The power block in a steam-cycle plant, which actually produces the power, will consume between 50,000 to 100,000 gallons per day depending on the design and operations.
  • The workers at the plant will consume 500,000 to 700,000 gallons for day for toilets, cooking, washing and other general industrial usage.
  • AEHI’s design will use a hybrid cooling system that will control consumption depending on water availability to less than one million gallons per day or 1000 acre-feet per year (140 acres irrigated) for the steam cycle and plant usage (listed above) if required due to water shortage. This minimum consumptive mode is known as dry cooling.
  • Depending on the reactor’s total power and the cooling system design, the plant can recirculate up to 20 to 25 million gallons per day for cooling. In this cooling system, water is pumped from the water source (river) to fill ponds near the power plant.  It is then circulated from one pond into the plant for cooling, afterwards the water is returned to another pond to cool before being sent back to the first pond to use again. These ponds will be filled when water flow in the river is high.
  • Many older nuclear plants use high water consumptive cooling up to 90% of the recirculated water (such as cooling towers which are spray evaporative cooling) and were built where water was abundant from large rivers and lakes at these locations.

Source: 2005 USGS data (most recent available data)

Conclusion:

The U.S. has water for almost every use including irrigating lawns, golf courses and ball parks while using the least amount of water to produce arguably one of our most important products for the success of our economy — reliable baseload electricity.

In most of Idaho, as in the rest of the U.S., without electricity, the economy would be devastated. So, it would seem water for power production should be a very high priority especially given the amount of electricity returned from large thermal plants. Specifically, less than 1% of the water leaving Idaho would cool a large dual unit nuclear power plant producing enough reliable power to address all foreseeable growth while stabilizing increasing power costs.

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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.

Nuclear power – a thumbnail sketch October 9, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, reprocessing, Uncategorized.
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We recently produced this one-page handout for public meetings. While there’s a growing appreciation for the role nuclear power plays in creating carbon-free energy, there are still a lot of myths out there and handouts like this will help set the record straight. To see it at full-size, you may click and drag it to your desktop or save it to a folder.

One-page handout with facts about nuclear power.

One-page handout with facts about nuclear power.

Opinion roundup July 17, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, economic benefits, Elmore County, Energy policy, environmentalists, Mountain Home News, renewable energy, Snake River Alliance, Water policy, Wind energy.
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While our rezone application moves through the process at Elmore County, I thought I would post some letters to the editor and columns that have appeared lately.

Idaho Statesman, July 16, 2009
Enough delays: Approve Elmore County plant

During an Elmore County commissioners’ meeting, supporters of the nuclear power plant outnumbered opponents 5-to-1 and 1,600 petition signatures were submitted in support. Yet, after a year of hearings, the answer from commissioners was the comprehensive plan is outdated and go back to square one. Those opposing are few: a discounted far-left environmental group and a handful of Hammett farmers who support nuclear power but want it constructed in a different location. From the hearings I have attended, radio debates I’ve listened to, and discussions with both farmers and Hammett residents, their responses are loud and clear: the majority of Idahoans are in favor of the power plant and they recognize that this is our big chance to attract large companies who bring stable jobs but need more than what Idaho Power can provide them with. It’s what Idaho has been looking for and it’s what Idaho desperately needs to lead the Northwest and the United States in clean power. My plea to the commissioners is to please stop stalling by appeasing a few and start representing the majority voice. Let us help ourselves to have a brighter future by approving this power plant.

KEVIN F. AMAR, Meridian

Mountain Home News, July 15, 2009
If you want growth, nuclear power plant is viable option

Dear editor:
As I sit here on Saturday morning, June 20, 2009, I look outside my window and see Idaho’s energy future. At least the future that many near-sighted folks want us to put all our faith and trust. It is completely still with nary a whisper of wind to turn even the most efficient wind turbine and so overcast that solar power couldn’t power up an LED bulb.

Naive, I am not. I know this is not the norm for Elmore County; but to set so much reliance on wind, water and solar cannot be our standard for the future of energy for the Pacific Northwest, Western United States, or even the United States as a whole

We cannot afford any more coal powered plants — that is a given. We must invest in other means of powering our society with the electrical demands we have established. Whether for our homes, computers, cell phones, mobile phones, or even the increased future of hybrid or solely electric vehicles — we need electricity! That fact will not go away lest we make the conscious decision to revert back to the 1800s. We can do that, but mind you, it will make it very difficult to continue advances (or even sustain our current abilities) in medicine or just how we live from day to day. If we minimize production, whatever electricity we might have given to us would go first to the established leadership of our county, second to the military, third to health care and finally to Joe Average — come to think of it, it reminds me of how things were divided in Stalinist Russia.

I have heard the discussions before the P&Z, the County Commissioners, read the articles, blogs and opinions in the Mountain Home News and watched the DVD. I’ve listened to the arguments, pro and con, that take place throughout the county and I must say that the controversy over a rezone application has this whole county stymied.

I have seen how people outside of Elmore County have been brought in and have gotten deep into our business. Were they invited — yes, however; when the final decision is made, are they going to be living here to deal with the first-hand consequences of that decision? NO, they won’t!

I have lived in several areas around the United States and around the world. I have lived in areas of extreme prosperity and in utter poverty — and as a personal preference, I chose the comforts of prosperity. I heard it said at one meeting that, “…electricity is overrated.” We, in these United States, are accustomed to many hi-tech devices that we may not know how they work, it just suits our cause when and because they work. I’m not an expert, but I think it requires electricity to take such things as X-rays for proper dental work, broken bone manipulation or detailed neurological procedures. I seem to remember that farmers need electricity to run the water pumps for their irrigation lines in order to get to the point of harvest of hay, corn, wheat or potatoes. I know it is very time consuming to milk dairy cattle by hand and when you have upwards of 5,000 or 6,000 head of cattle that require two milkings per day it can be a VERY time consuming job, unless a dairy has the financial resources to employ hundreds of workers and we wish to pay $10 or more for a gallon of milk.

Since the time I arrived in Idaho in 1997, my power bill has tripled. When I arrived, I too asked the question of why isn’t wind or solar energy being harnessed. The standard response was hydro power is so cheap and plentiful.

So in 12 years, we’ve experienced drought, population growth, economic downturn and a serious lack to decisively invest into new sources of power. We are now so far behind the power curve it’s pitiful. To have known it would come to this level of disparity was unthinkable. No one could have known, but we did have the knowledge and resources available during the good years that could have made these tough times a bit more bearable, had we prepared.

I know the issues of rezone, water use, nuclear power, availability of suitable farm land all have their supporters and opponents to some degree, but the desired advancement throughout time has been this: we seek to make better, to use more efficiently, to build in a margin of safety wherever possible.

If we seek to “do it right,” I believe the co-existence of these issues is entirely possible, plausible and suitable for Elmore County.

Fears, yes, they exist because the human factor exists. But if we become so captivated by those fears that we become frozen in place rather than being motivated to exercise caution and seek safety at every turn to make it better, we can go forward with an expectation of success for everyone.

Of all the nuclear power facilities in the world — have all been failures? Have all been shut down because of fears of Chernobyl or Three Mile Island? Have we not learned from the mistakes that were made of improper design? Has not the Nuclear Regulatory Commission been involved to inspect and certify plants for the public’s safety?

Our world is constantly changing. I enjoy the rural lifestyle of Elmore County and even get fed up with traffic surges that happen twice daily throughout the workweek. But change required stoplights to be installed, road maintenance and improvements to be accomplished; all because we are growing county and that is already a fact of life.

If we want to keep our status quo, then we need to limit our household growths to 1 or 2 children, mandated by law (I think that idea was called Zero Population Growth — back in the ’70s and ’80s; it didn’t work) — reminds me of current day China. Mountain Home has about doubled in size since the 1990s and will probably continue to grow as time goes on. This doesn’t even include the rest of southwestern Idaho, which has seen a marked growth since the mid-1990s.

Change is inevitable and with change comes new requirements. Satisfaction of those requirements must be met and for an economy that means taxes, or housing, or jobs, or transportation, or construction or a myriad of things to meet those requirements.

So what do we do? We have a company that wishes to come into Elmore County (it really didn’t matter to this company where they came in as was evidenced by the Owyhee County course of events and to know that they were invited) to take a piece of land that is not prime and to establish an enterprise on that land.

If it was prime farmland, people would be scrambling at every opportunity to obtain and farm the land. It is land that does have farmable soil and relatively good position to highway and rail support. But the slope of the landscape causes high water drainage and proximity to the Snake River, which funnels the air and causes high evaporation of the remaining moisture content greatly decreases the viable use of this parcel of land for great farming purposes.

This company proposes to level the land, build a viable enterprise, boost the economy and improve the infrastructure of Elmore County. Would they be so determined in their efforts to complete this venture unless they were serious? Fact or fiction?

If you don’t want to promote growth, provide jobs and make improvements to Elmore County, then takes these objectives out of your plans, otherwise; make the plans coincide properly with these objectives, allow the rezone, and move forward.

Roy D. Newer II

Mountain Home News, July 15, 2009
Nuclear power plnt would be a boon to local economy

Dear editor:
This past spring, I spent quite a bit of time doing community organizing work in Elmore County on the rezone for Alternate Energy Holdings Inc.’s proposed power plant. This included visiting Elmore County towns for petition signatures and showing people how they could get involved in the effort to bring well-paying jobs and clean industry to Elmore County.

It was hard work and exciting, but I wasn’t emotionally prepared for the poverty I would see going door-to-door in Glenns Ferry and Hammett. In homes, food lines, businesses and on the street, I came across hardworking people very worried about their futures and how they would keep a roof over their heads. Many were seasonal agricultural workers.

Economic development is a social justice issue. Many times, influential people who run the established order want to keep things the way they are. That’s not necessarily a bad thing especially if, like Elmore County farmers, they work hard, employ people and produce a needed product like food.

However, if the established order also includes keeping people in poverty, there is something very, very wrong with that. One way to address it is through government programs. But for people to be truly economically self-sufficient, they need family-wage jobs with benefits. A power plant with 500 direct jobs, 1,500 spin-off jobs and average wages of $80,000 is one way to do it.

There is great need: according to Census Bureau data, poverty rates in the Glenns Ferry and Hammett ZIP codes are between 17 and 21 percent, well above the 12 percent state average (http://tinyurl.com/nra2jg). Of course, there are other ways to provide these jobs and if anyone else genuinely wants to provide family-wage jobs with a new industry, I urge them to submit their plans.

Also, the industries that create these family-wage jobs are taxed at much higher industrial and commercial rates. Those taxes pay for school, fire, police, parks, libraries, planning, administration, roads and lowering the taxes of everyone else. Currently, agricultural taxes simply don’t provide this level of local government funding. A power plant should also go above and beyond tax obligations and construct public buildings, establish scholarships and run a foundation for the privilege of being in a community.

It’s sad to hear people say, “The nuclear plant won’t hire Elmore people,” as though Elmore residents can’t work in a security-conscious, technically-oriented setting. I think Elmore residents are among the best qualified for nuclear plant jobs, because many are veterans or used to work at Mountain Home Air Force Base. A nuclear plant has many military aspects, including extreme security consciousness; a highly trained, armed security force; and strong safety culture.

Most jobs at a nuclear plant don’t require a college degree and some don’t require high levels of training: foodservice, janitors, landscaping and materials handling. Other jobs need training ranging from certification to advanced college degrees: mechanics, security officers, technicians, office workers, pipefitters, attorneys, managers, electricians or nuclear physicists. We believe Elmore residents already qualify for the vast majority of these jobs. We hope bright Elmore County youths will be able to return home and work at our plant or spin-off industries. In addition, the plentiful power from a nuclear plant will attract other industry.

Best of all, agriculture can continue as it always has, although wages for ag jobs may rise in a competitive job market. Our nuclear plant would occupy just 200 acres. As is common with nuclear plants, the land around ours will continue to be farmed and create a security buffer. Interestingly, the American Farm Bureau calls for increased use of nuclear power (http://tinyurl.com/kokgnq).

Environmental groups normally align themselves with social justice causes. But in this case, some are working alongside a few Hammett-area farmers to, in effect, keep struggling people from accessing better-paid jobs and opportunity. In this clash of principles, the struggling families of Elmore County have been on the losing side.

The environmental groups might say “We’re not against family-wage jobs, but a nuclear plant isn’t the way to do it.” To which I respond: If you cared to ask the struggling families of Elmore County what they think and want, you might not be so eager to tell them no.

Martin Johncox,

Boise

(Editor’s note: Johncox handles public relations for AEHI).

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

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.

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.