Utah nuclear power proposal has a powerful thirst

Apr 7, 2009 -
> McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Patty Henetz The Salt Lake Tribune
> A state representative pushing to bring nuclear energy to Utah
> has applied to the state to take billions of gallons of water from the
> Green River to supply reactors that could produce electricity for 3
> million households.
> Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, executive director of the Kane County
> Water Conservancy District, has filed an application with the Utah
> Division of Water Rights to transfer 29,600 acre-feet of water to
> Emery County.
> The water would be used for two proposed nuclear reactors for the
> Transition Power LLC Blue Castle Project on private land west of the
> city of Green River, said company CEO Aaron Tilton, a former lawmaker
> from Springville.
> Transition Power owns the assets, Tilton said, but Energy Path of
> North Carolina and former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Nils
> Diaz are equity owners.
> Noel's water district and Transition Power signed a contract in
> September 2007 that would transfer the water rights in exchange for
> payments starting at $100,000 per year and growing to $1 million by
> the time the plant would come on line.
> The water originally was to serve the proposed Kaiparowits coal-
> fired power plant that was abandoned when President Bill Clinton in
> 1996 designated Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
> Boyd Clayton, Utah's deputy state engineer, said a 20-day protest
> period on the proposal would start in about three weeks. State
> Engineer Kent Jones will schedule hearings in Emery County. Clayton
> said the hearings could be months away.
> Critics say even though the water right originally was for a
> coal-fired plant, it may not be easy to transfer it to a nuclear plant
> whose customers would include more Californians than Utah residents.
> Noel said the hearings would not focus on the project itself, but
> rather on any effects on downstream users in Utah. He denied Blue
> Castle would sell most of its power out of state, saying nuclear power
> could help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate
> change.
> Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah policy director Christopher
> Thomas said his group, which opposes nuclear power and nuclear waste
> coming to the state, may protest the water transfer.
> The organization already has protested extending the water right,
> due to expire in 2011. "It's kind of unclear which [application]
> should have come first," Thomas said.
> Nuke water:
> The Kane County Water Conservancy District has applied to the
> Utah Division of Water Rights to transfer 29,600 acre-feet of water to
> Emery County for a proposed nuclear power project.
> An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, enough to cover an acre of
> land with a foot of water or serve one or two households for a year.
> The water would be diverted from the Green River to serve the
> Blue Castle Power Project, which plans to generate enough electricity
> for as many as 3 million households.
> The public will be allowed a 20-day protest period, beginning in
> about three weeks.
> The public can follow the application by going to
> and searching for application a35402 on water
> right 89-74.
> The Utah Division of Water Rights will hold hearings in Emery
> County, but the hearings could be months away.