The folks in Idaho, according to a release by the Environment News Service, are apparently tickled pink that the French Company, AREVA, is planning construction of a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant near Idaho Falls, Idaho. It’s AREVA’s first such facility in the U.S. and it plans to serve the nuclear power industry.
There are no nuclear power stations in Idaho, but it does host the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls. According to its website, the INL is an applied engineering national laboratory, “dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s missions in nuclear and energy research, science, and national defense.”
Idaho’s Governor, C.L. “Butch” Otter, is quoted as saying, “It’s a great match that will result in secure jobs and a stronger economy.” The state actively courted AREVA with tax incentives, and was picked over three other possible locations.
The Idaho Legislature gladly capped the firm’s property tax valuation at $400 million, if, the company spends at least $1 billion on the plant. AREVA was also exempted from sales taxes on production equipment.
They Said What?
So far, so good, the Environment News Service presented a good article, until I read this paragraph:
“Although there are other problems with nuclear power, such as waste disposal and the potential for devastating accidents, it emits no heat-trapping greenhouse gases”.
That’s the kind of “oh well” thinking I’ve been carping about all these months, and here it is again. The biggie here is, “it emits no heat-trapping greenhouse gases.” That remark was a quote from the text, not from an official of either the state or AREVA. I am forever amazed at how the “other problems” are minimized, in preference to steam emanating from huge towers.
Up and Operating by 2014
AREVA officials say construction of the plant promises “thousands of jobs”, and when completed and operational, the plant would employ about 250 persons, making an average salary of $70,000 a year.
The U.S. Department of Energy operates one uranium enrichment company in Paducah, Kentucky. It opened in 1952, and has been enriching uranium for nuclear power reactors since 1960.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says two new uranium enrichment plants are under construction, one in New Mexico and the other in Ohio.
If all goes well, Idaho may someday have its own nuclear power facility. Nevada-based Alternative Energy Holdings is reportedly planning a 1,600-megawatt reactor in southwestern Idaho.
Not In Anyone’s Back Yard!
Obviously, not everyone is excited about the new facility at Idaho Falls. The Snake River Alliance , which is based in Idaho, has gone on record opposing the enrichment plant, saying it didn’t matter where it was built, they oppose uranium enrichment wherever it takes place.
Andrea Shipley, Executive Director of the alliance, is quoted as saying:
“It is premised on expanding nuclear power, which is an expensive and dirty power source.”
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