BOISE, Idaho, Nov. 22, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc.'s (OTCQB:AEHI) () CEO today provided the following editorial regarding the state of nuclear power in the U.S.:
Wake Up America! We're Falling Behind in Nuclear Power
By Don Gillispie, AEHI CEO
There's a nuclear renaissance underway around the world. Twenty-three reactors are under construction in China, with 10 more expected to break ground within a few months. Russia is building 10 large reactors and South Korea is adding eight plants (). Even lightly populated Finland just approved construction of two new plants (). All told, 58 new nuclear power plants are under construction in 14 countries around the world, most of them in Asia.
But one nation is conspicuously absent from this list—the United States. There are no new plants under construction in the country that invented and exported commercial nuclear power to the world, and which continues to rely on the largest fleet in the world—104 reactors—for safe, reliable, clean and inexpensive electricity.
There are hopeful signs as U.S. utilities have submitted applications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for combined construction and operating licenses for 22 new plants, and the U.S. Energy Department is offering billions of dollars in loan guarantees to build the first few plants, but most of those projects are stalled today.
So, much needs to be done, because despite the possibilities, the industry is still waiting for the first project to get underway. Vogtle Electric Generating Station is awaiting final Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval to construct the country's first nuclear plant ordered since 1977. As of yet, the Department of Energy has offered one loan guarantee to Southern Company (a big Atlanta-based utility) for Vogtle. Most recently the Baltimore-based Constellation Energy Group, Inc. decided the government's loan guarantee program came with too many terms to be workable which has now stopped their Calvert Cliffs new plant project. ()
So, as the rest of the world prepares to benefit from new nuclear power, it doesn't take a nuclear physicist to see that the U.S. is falling behind—and that Americans will suffer as a result. We are missing out on the best source of energy for the future. Nuclear power is far cheaper than wind or solar—and it runs all the time, not just when the wind blows or the sun shines. It's even cost competitive with new coal before pollution control requirements. And it's far more certain than natural gas, which, though abundant currently, may cause contamination of aquifers when extracted, and prices are subject to international market forces as we have seen in the past. Build enough new nuclear plants and the U.S. could even wean itself from dependence on foreign oil, since cars and trucks could be powered largely by electricity instead of gasoline.
The U.S. must not fall behind in building new reactors or U.S. companies will lose out in a very competitive market to build thousands of high-value components used in nuclear plants. To take advantage of that market and have sufficient energy to fuel economic growth reliably and cleanly, America must have a viable nuclear market of its own now—not 10 years from now.
Starting to build new nuclear facilities right now will give the suffering American economy a huge boost. Take the plant that my company, Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc., plans to build in Payette County, Idaho. The construction of the dual-reactor plant would directly employ up to 5,000 workers at the peak of a five year period. And since nuclear plants need hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete, more than 30,000 tons of steel, and countless specialized parts from a giant chain of suppliers, the total number of jobs created by the plant could actually be more than 100,000. Just 10 projects like this one could create approximately a million jobs. Those jobs would be here in the U.S., not overseas.
But the nation must move forward. I've worked for 45 years in the U.S. nuclear industry building and operating reactors and it's profoundly sad to me to see America lag further and further behind China, India, Korea, Japan and other countries. In fact, I started AEHI out of frustration that big U.S. utilities were being too slow and cautious. So I got together a group of industry veterans like me and went out to see if we could jumpstart the nuclear renaissance in this country.
This industry can make a profound and positive difference, but I often feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness. Wake up America! Nuclear power is crucial to our future and we've got to get started on it now!
About Don Gillispie -- A 45-year veteran of the nuclear industry, Don Gillispie was involved in the construction and operation of a number of nuclear reactors and helped start the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO). He is now CEO of Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. in Eagle, Idaho.
About Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. () -- 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 (), Colorado Energy Park (nuclear and solar generation), and Green World Water(TM), which assists developing countries with nuclear reactors for power generation (), 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.
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CONTACT: Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. Media: Dan Hamilton (208)939-9311