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Nuclear reactors in Green River?

If you associate Green River, UT with river trips, the Book Cliffs, or as the gateway to Canyonlands, Arches, and the San Rafael Swell, you may need to add another to your list: nuclear reactor.

Two nuclear reactors, that is, if two Utah state lawmakers get their way. Now former state Rep. Aaron Tilton (R-Springville) and Rep. Mike Noel (R-Kanab) have signed a contract which identifies the town of Green River as the potential site for two side-by-side 1,500 MW nuclear reactors—the first on the Colorado River system.

How have two state legislators signed a business deal to build Utah's first nuclear reactor? In addition to his former stint as an elected official, Mr. Tilton is also the CEO of Blue Castle Holdings, a power company with plans to site a nuclear reactor in Utah, and Rep. Noel is the executive director of the Kane County Water Conservancy District, which under his direction agreed to sign over 30,000 acre-feet (10 billion gallons) of water a year for use in Mr. Tilton's reactor for a sum of $1 million a year once the reactor comes online.

Rep. Noel and former Rep. Tilton were also chair and co-chair of the legislative committee that oversees state energy policy at the time.

Conflict of interest? Both lawmakers say no, and have literally laughed off suggestions to the contrary (Tilton claimed no conflict because he is not a utility, while Rep. Noel claimed no conflict because his employer is a utility).

If you disagree with this brand of self-serving public policymaking, please sign our petition opposing a change in water rights that would make it easier to build a nuclear reactor in Utah.

Petition link: www.healutah.org/greenriverwaterpetition

Utah needs real energy solutions, not the kind that leave our state with piles of waste and mountains of debt. Over 90% of Utahns polled support increased government investment and incentives for power projects that develop more wind, solar, and energy efficiency in our state.

We can appreciate policymakers wanting to be open to keeping all energy options on the table to address air pollution and climate change, energy security, and to meet future energy needs.

But we do not need to be open to subsidizing the nuclear fantasies of a few with our taxpayer or ratepayer dollars. We do not need to be open to the storage of a lethal waste stream with no disposal solution which we have fought for years to keep out of our state. And we do not need to be open to diverting enormous amounts of our precious desert water to cool a reactor that will send most of its power to California, Arizona, and Nevada. That would be self destructive when we have so many better, cleaner, sustainable energy options on the table.

Links:

"Meet the would be N-power king," Salt Lake Tribune, November 5, 2007: http://www.sltrib.com//ci_7365878

“What happened to 'over my dead body' policy? Legislators fought Goshutes' nuke waste dump - but now consider reactors,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 26, 2007: http://www.healutah.org/news/energy/102607-2

“Governor says state open to nuclear power,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 25, 2007: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_7279445

“Legislator signs water contract for project: Nuclear power proponents eye Emery County for two reactors,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 25, 2007: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_7275094

“Utahns back alternative fuels,” Deseret News, July 21, 2007. http://www.healutah.org/news/energy/072107-2