In 2007, then-Rep. Aaron Tilton announced plans to build two nuclear reactors on the Green River in southern Utah. His dream was to construct the first nuclear power plant in the state and produce 3,000 megawatts of electricity.
A Bad Idea
At first, most observers didn’t take Tilton’s plan seriously. The Springville Republican had zero nuclear power experience. Several years later, however, Tilton’s plan gained some momentum. His company, Blue Castle Holdings secured land on which to build the plant about four miles northwest of the town of Green River. And, most importantly, they received state approval in 2013 to use 50,000 acre feet of water from the Green River to cool its reactors.
At every step of the way – from regulatory bodies to the courts – HEAL Utah has been at the forefront of efforts to challenge the Green River proposal. Our supporters are convinced that nuclear power is a terrible choice for the state’s energy future:
It Uses Too Much Water.
The Green River reactors would consume as much water as residents of a city of 200,000. And Utah is the second driest state in the nation with a population slated to double in the next 40 years. Do we really want to allocate this precious water to nuclear power for at least a half-century, instead of to homes, businesses and farms?
Nuclear remains one of the most expensive sources of electricity, with independent analysts estimating a per kilowatt-hour cost of at least 13 to 18 cents, much more than what Utah (7 cents) or the nation (10 cents) pays today.
It Poses Risks.
Utah would need to grapple with the spent fuel rods that reactors produce, high-level nuclear waste stored on-site which remains dangerous for centuries. And then there is the possibility, even if remote, of a Fukushima-style accident.
There are Better Alternatives.
We believe that Utah can build a low-carbon, 21st Century energy system by combining wind, solar, and geothermal resources with proven storage technologies. Our eUtah study proved that a renewable-centered system can also be affordable and reliable – and use much less water than nuclear power and burning fossil fuels – a critical issue in dry Utah.
Aaron Tilton’s bad idea has lost key momentum in recent years, as investors remain wary and utilities in the West continue to shun new nuclear power. Rocky Mountain Power spokespeople periodically make clear that new nuclear is not in their plans. Blue Castle has been left with not just no money to permit their project — but no hopes of selling the expensive source of power they can’t afford to build.
Nonetheless, as long as the Blue Castle proposal continues to limp along, HEAL Utah is determined to make clear to officials that it’s time to turn our back on costly and dangerous power sources like nuclear power and instead embrace a 21st Century energy economy.
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Recent Updates on the Green River Nuclear Reactors…
Moab Sun News
December 22nd, 2016
With its water rights upheld by the Utah court system, the developer of a proposed nuclear power plant in Emery County is moving forward to capitalize on its assets, but critics of the project are questioning why it isn’t paying for them first.
Representatives of HEAL Utah, Living Rivers and Uranium Watch spoke before Utah Division of Water Rights officials at a public hearing in the Green River City Council chambers on Tuesday, Dec. 20, to protest the extension of the Blue Castle Project's water rights.
Read full article here
BY AMY BRUNVAND
DECEMBER 5, 2016
This past July HEAL Utah lost a lawsuit trying to block a nuclear power plant proposed for Green River, Utah, but decided not to appeal because it seemed like Blue Castle Holdings did not have the financial backing to actually go through with the project. It seems that HEAL Utah was right. Blue Castle missed the September 19 deadline to pay $1,800,000 it owes for 53,000 acre feet of water rights.
Read the original article here.Read more...
Salt Lake Tribune
Dec 06 2016
Some years ago when Rep. Mike Noel introduced the idea of the Lake Powell pipeline to Kane County residents, he assured them that it would be paid for by a water deal with Blue Castle Holdings, a company that wanted to build a nuclear power plant on the Green River. Noel had crafted a contract with Blue Castle to lease river water owned by Kane County in exchange for large amounts of money. It now appears that this deal has fallen through.
Blue Castle's first payment of $100,000 to Kane County Water Conservancy District was due in mid-October but never received.
Read the full letter here.Read more...