updated 10/4/2010 12:47:31 PM ET 2010-10-04T16:47:31

BOISE, Idaho, Oct. 4, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Even as the world searches for clean, reliable sources of electricity, some critics say that one possible answer—nuclear power—won't work because it is too expensive. "Nuclear power is quite uneconomic in the U.S., far more costly than a wide range of low-carbon alternatives, not to mention conventional sources of electricity," argues Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and Environment, in a recent report. However, AEHI has seen no documented evidence that Mr. Cooper has experience designing, building or operating any energy plants and the Pro Nuclear Democrats website indicate his "study has been debunked and taken to task by many."

"Cooper and other nuclear critics are wrong," says Don Gillispie, CEO of Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB:AEHI) (OTCBB:AEHI). "It's time to expose the myth that nuclear power is more costly than wind, solar and other renewables. In fact, nuclear power can successfully compete even with inexpensive coal-fired electricity. Further, I can tell you that the first question from informed investors regarding renewables is, 'What are the subsidies?' The question arises because renewable power sources have proven unprofitable without taxpayer funding. Germany's large wind power projects would not be possible without government subsidies. Many U.S. states are mandating a percentage of their power come from renewables which is effectively another high tax on electricity consumers."

A 45-year veteran of the nuclear industry, Gillispie has the experience and numbers to back up his assertions. His company is preparing to build two big 1700-megawatt (MWe) nuclear plants in Payette County, Idaho that will produce electricity more cheaply than new wind and solar can, by a long shot.

Nuclear critics like Cooper calculate that the cost of one new 1700 MWe nuclear power plant is $10 billion or more. At that price, electricity from the plant would cost at least 16 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) according to Cooper. That's far higher than the 3-5 cent cost of coal power (though that will increase to 10 cents or more with tougher coming emissions standards). It's higher than the widely claimed figures of 8-10 cents for wind or 12-18 cents for big solar thermal plants including subsidies.

"Don't believe it," says Gillispie. "First of all, one of the big untold stories is that renewables are much more expensive than these figures indicate. For instance, it costs more than $10 billion to build 1700 MWe worth of wind or large-scale solar, but renewables only operate a fraction of the time, so the cost per MWe is far higher," Gillispie explains. "The real price of wind is more like 16-20 cents per kWhr without subsidies. Solar is more than 20 cents. A lot of games are being played to make renewables look sweeter than they are including ignoring subsidies," Gillispie says.

Even environmental activist and attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. agrees that electricity from new wind farms is more than twice the price of competing alternatives. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/opinion/16kennedy.html?_r=1

In addition, the typical wind farm or solar installation has a planned life of 15-20 years. A nuclear plant can operate for 60-100 years. "That means capital costs for nuclear plants can be amortized over many more years, reducing the overall costs per kWhr," says Gillispie.

Most importantly, the price of nuclear plants is far lower than critics like Cooper estimate. "My company is on track to build not one, but two, large plants in Idaho for $9 - $10 billion," Gillispie says. Reasons for the lower price tag include competition as new suppliers enter the market, which is lowering the capital cost, and the fact that key components are being built in Asia, where manufacturing costs are lower.

"The power from these new plants would cost 4-5 cents per kWh and based on today's market, the carbon credits it creates could be sold for hundreds of millions of dollars as well," says Gillispie, "This makes nuclear competitive with coal, with a decided clean-air advantage, since coal is the single biggest contributor of global warming in the world not to mention heavy metals like mercury and other lung damaging particles. And the price of nuclear power alone makes it a huge bargain over wind and solar. Further, we must have baseload electricity, which means large, highly reliable sources of power that renewables can't deliver and if we don't build clean low cost nuclear plants it will be more of the same; pollution from toxic coal plants that are already being planned because of the current nuclear plant delays."

About Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. (http://www.AlternateEnergyHoldings.com) -- Alternate Energy Holdings develops and markets innovative clean energy sources. The company is the nation's only independent nuclear power plant developer seeking to build new power plants in multiple non-nuclear states. Other projects include Energy Neutral(TM), which removes energy demands from homes and businesses (http://www.EnergyNeutralinc.com) Colorado Energy Park (nuclear and solar generation), and Green World Water(TM), which assists developing countries with nuclear reactors for power generation (http://www.GreenWorld-H2O.com), production of potable water and other suitable applications. AEHI China, headquartered in Beijing, develops joint ventures to produce nuclear plant components and consults on nuclear power.  

The Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=8058

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