In southeast Utah rests a peaceful town located on the banks of a peaceful river. Here the Green River flows between two canyons, Gray and Labyrinth, allowing for farming and ranching in an arid desert. Driving through Green River, Utah doesn’t take but a few moments, including a stop to purchase some mouth-watering melons, for which Green River is famous. But Green River now has a new claim to fame.
Transition Power Development LLC (TPD) has proposed construction of a 2 unit nuclear power plant known as the Blue Castle Project situated just outside of the peaceful town. In order to maintain the 2 unit nuclear power plant, massive amounts of water would be required. The Kane County Water Conservancy District (KCWCD) has filed a water-rights application in order to facilitate the project. The application requests 29,600 acre-feet of water, which would be diverted from the Green River, a part of the Colorado River drainage.
The application for the water-rights is being protested, however, by the Center for Biological Diversity. The protest, filed with the Utah state engineer, raises concerns about a lack of information made available to the public on how the 29,600 acre-feet of water will be used and how the diversion plan is consistent with the need to protect river flow and habitat conditions of imperiled flora and fauna, including endangered fish species. It is believed that this plant will use 1.1 million gallons of water per hour for once-through cooling.
“The water application provides sparse details about the design and features of the proposed plant,” said Rob Mrowka, an ecologist and conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We know from experiences at other such plants that the voluminous water intakes trap and kill fish and other aquatic life. And, the intake of such large quantities of water plus the subsequent discharge of heated water can further harm those species and habitats.”
He continued to say, “The Green and Colorado Rivers are critical for the survival of the Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, bonytail and razorback sucker, all listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act – the highest level of imperilment.” Other species, including the roundtail chub, blueheaded sucker and flannelmouth sucker, all of which are critically imperiled and receiving special management, could potentially be hurt.
Other endangered species reside in and around the area of the proposed plant and cooling pond, including three extremely rare plant species: the San Rafael cactus, Maguire’s daisy, and Jones’s cycladenia.
Photo Credit: caddymob via flickr under Creative Commons License