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.
To find out how you help do this, please sign up for our action alerts!
Recent Updates on the Green River Nuclear Reactors…
PRESS RELEASE *** PRESS RELEASE *** PRESS RELEASE
WESTINGHOUSE BANKRUPTCY DEALS TROUBLED GREEN RIVER NUKE BID HUGE BLOW
PROJECT FOE CALLS ON BLUE CASTLE TO ABANDON PROJECT
In response to today’s news that Westinghouse -- the company with which struggling Blue Castle Holdings claimed it was partnering to build the Green River nuclear reactors -- has filed for bankruptcy, HEAL Utah called upon Blue Castle to abandon their troubled bid.
“The list of Blue Castle’s failures was already long,” says HEAL Utah’s Policy Director Ashley Soltysiak. “The project has failed to raise money from investors or attract interest from utilities. They’ve been unable to pay their bills for the water they leased to cool the project. And, now, they’ve lost the company that was allegedly going to design and build their reactors. It’s time to shut it down.”
Soltysiak pointed out that reports about Westinghouse’s bankruptcy indicate the company may not be able to complete projects in Georgia and South Carolina which it is in the middle of building -- let alone to continue to work on those which are years from federal approval and construction, like Blue Castle. As recently as January, Blue Castle’s CEO, former state Rep. Aaron Tilton, said in a media briefing that they were continuing to work with Westinghouse.
“Take a step back for a moment,” said Soltysiak. “A decade after announcing your plan to start a new business, you still haven’t found anyone to finance it or anyone to buy what you’re selling. Now the company that was going to design and build it has gone out of business.”
One major reason Tilton and Blue Castle should terminate their project, HEAL says, is so that rural Utah communities who have been linked to the bid for a decade can move forward to develop their economies and make plans for their water. Blue Castle has leased water from the San Juan and Kane county water conservancy districts and has received support from Emery County Economic Development officials.
“Rural Utah faces serious challenges,” said Soltysiak. “For 10 years now, Tilton has strung these counties along and promised them jobs and revenue that are obviously never coming. It’s past time for Blue Castle to do the decent thing and admit the obvious: The Green River nuclear reactors will never be built.”
For more information, call HEAL's Policy Director Ashley Soltysiak at (616)-485-8290.
Background on Blue Castle and their struggles:
Nov. Trib story on BCH failing to make water payments: http://www.sltrib.com/home/
2014 HEAL op-ed detailing BCH’s May struggles: http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/
2013 Trib story about BCH’s troubled finances: http://archive.sltrib.com/
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...