The Snake River Alliance is working in full gear to get the word out on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s public meeting Monday night in Boise about plans for an uranium enrichment facility near Idaho Falls by French company Areva.
During a press conference Monday morning on the steps of the Capitol Building, Snake River Alliance representatives spoke out against the proposed $4 billion plant that will be large enough to fuel 50 nuclear reactors.
“While the nuclear fuel will be sent worldwide and Areva’s profits will be sent back to France, the resulting depleted uranium waste from the process would end up on top of the Snake River aquifer for decades,” said Executive Director Andrea Shipley.
The U.S. Department of Energy gave Areva $2 billion loan guarantee for the factory in May, and the Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor gave Areva $750,000 from stimulus funds for an overpass near the facility, which Shipley pointed out is “a road to a facility that’s not even built yet; a road to nowhere.”
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will accept comments on the draft of an environmental impact statement on Areva's proposal. To see the Environmental Impact Draft, visit the Snake River Alliance website.
Shipley said the alliance will “highlight some important pieces in the EIS that are inadequate that should warrant a new EIS draft."
Shipley said in addition to posing a risk to the land and water supply, "the factory would endanger sage grouse populations in the area and would force the destruction of a historic homestead nearby. The alliance also hopes there is an adequate look at threat of wildfires at the site."
“All Idahoans deserve the right to respond to this latest effort to turn our state into a nuclear proving ground,” Shipley said. “The NRC should be commended for realizing the need to expand public participation beyond Idaho Falls. Adding the Boise hearing, as we insisted, will add credibility to the public process.”
The NRC will accept comments until September 13, and the Snake River Alliance estimates pre-construction efforts could begin as soon as October 2010. The NRC was originally going to conduct a meeting only in Idaho Falls, but after the urging of Mayor Dave Bieter and the Snake River Alliance, a second meeting in Boise was announced. Shipley is optimistic that more than 100 individuals show up at tonight’s NRC meeting.
“We’ve been mobilizing our members and people who care for the last two weeks since the Environmental Impact Statement draft has been issued,” Shipley said.
Monday's meeting is from 7 to 9:30 at the Oxford Suites Boise Hotel, Idaho Ballroom, 1426 S Entertainment Ave. On Thursday, a meeting in Idaho Falls will take place from 7:30 to 10, at the Red Lion Hotel.