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Court Action Favors Utah Nuclear Power Plant

PHOTO: Utah is closer to having a nuclear power plant following a recent court action. Photo credit: FEMA.
PHOTO: Utah is closer to having a nuclear power plant following a recent court action. Photo credit: FEMA.
December 2, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah is a step closer to having a nuclear power plant, following a recent court action. A state judge ruled in favor of Blue Castle Holdings and the state engineer in a legal challenge over more than 50,000 acre-feet of water allocated for the twin-reactor nuclear power plant. Blue Castle Holdings has proposed building the multi-billion-dollar project near Green River.

Matt Pacenza is policy director for Healthy Environmental Alliance of Utah (HEAL), which is among the groups that sued Blue Castle. Pacenza said the legal challenge may continue.

"We certainly don't want to see this nuclear reactor project move forward, and we are committed to trying to stop it," Pacenza said.

According to the Blue Castle Project website, the nuclear plant would increase Utah's electricity production by 50 percent. Blue Castle said it would also "provide predictable, cost-competitive, new base-load electric power generation and reduce developmental risk for electric utilities."

Pacenza said Blue Castle now needs approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). That process could take years and Blue Castle would have to come up with billions of dollars, he noted.

"If you're really optimistic, you could see them applying to the NRC in two to three years. That would kick off a process that would be at least a couple of years. Blue Castle then has to find itself $15 billion to $18 billion before a shovel even hits the ground," he said.

Blue Castle Holdings achieved a vital part of building a nuclear power plant by securing enough water for the plant's cooling process.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT