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How AEHI can afford to build a nuclear power plant January 21, 2010

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, economic benefits, Investment news, nuclear industry, nuclear jobs, Payette County.
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Lately we’ve had a lot of questions about how AEHI plans to fund a nuclear power plant.  There have been a lot of rumors floating around about the process, so we’d like to use the following opinion piece to clear up any misconceptions. Dan Hamilton, AEHI director of public relations, wrote the following opinion.

As a child, and not unlike other kids, I was often relentless in questioning my parents menial issues, “Why do I need to eat all my food, why can’t I stay up, and why can’t I spend the night on the roof?”

Most parents know what I’m talking about.

Meaningful answers were often provided, but later the answer to all these questions became, “Because I said so.” An irritating response, but now it’s one I use on my own children, because thinking of a real answer takes time to formulate in a way they’ll understand.

I thought a lot about that lately, and as a representative of Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc., I think responses to , “How can your company afford to build a nuclear power plant”, have begun sounding like a tired parent saying, “Because I said so.”

The real answer is much more complicated.

Depending on the reactor, the finished project, likely on a 5,000 acre piece of property outside Payette, will cost between $5 billion and $8 billion.

This is an investor-driven operation, at least in the beginning, and paying for it will require a couple different methods, or phases. These are the reasons investors continue supporting AEHI, because they’ve learned there is no downside to investing in a nuclear power plant.
Phase one will require about $100 million to pay for land, water, engineers, lawyers and applications. Last summer AEHI announced an agreement with an investment group to fund $70 million worth of the project and now we have several large international investors also interested.

Phase two takes place after AEHI receives local and federal approval; once approved, the property will increase in value to about $1.5 billion. The land then becomes an asset used to borrow $5 billion to $8 billion for construction. No loan payments are expected until the plant is operational, and once running at full capacity, it will create about $3 billion annually in reliable profits for 60 years.

These projections create a very attractive loan for most lenders.
Making this even more attractive, and much less risky, is a federal loan guarantee, which insures loan repayment up to 80 percent its original value. You can read more about this program on the Nuclear Energy Institute’s website: http://tinyurl.com/financingnuclearpower. This is also a program many senators are trying to expand.

In short, after phase one, AEHI will have a $1.5 billion asset and a nearly $10 billion asset after phase two — in either case, a very profitable proposition.

It’s also profitable for state and local economies. Following local approval, Phase one will create hundreds of jobs and contribute millions. After federal approval, Phase two will create billions of dollars in gross domestic product every year and thousands of jobs through construction and operation. Then there are local businesses needed to support the people working at the plant.

When finished, about 500 people will be needed to operate the plant, with pay averaging about $80,000 a year.

Coming from someone who studied these issues in great detail as a reporter, who quickly became a proponent, and now as an employee of AEHI, I have learned this project can be accomplished and has the potential to become hugely successful.

I hope you will take the time to study the matter for yourself. You will likely come to the same conclusion. This plant is crucial to providing Idaho with the revenue, the jobs, and the essential base load power the state needs for years to come.



1. Lisa Knobel - January 25, 2010

The benefits to the local & state economy cannot be overstated enough. I worked at a nuclear power plant in Maine. Because of the emergency planning requirements the state and local emergency services were beyond compare. Our refueling outages brought in hundreds of temporary workers which boosted the revenues for our hotels, restaurants and shops. Our employees were among the highest paid and most generous in the state. We donated considerable amounts to our local united way through payroll deduction. And many of us volunteered our time and resources to our communities. As our plant was being considered for closure, we began cashing our paychecks for $2 bills to show how widespread our economic impact was. We basically cleaned out the banks across the state and those $2 bills were everywhere. Our company also paid for many of us to get advanced degrees and certifications. Skilled electricians, welders, machinists and technicians were of the highest demand. One commitment our company made was to only hire navy nuclear operators or Engineers to operate the plant. This assured the highest level of professionalism in the control room. Any community with a nuclear power plant will be safer, cleaner and more prosperous than ever before.

cleanidahoenergy - January 25, 2010

Lisa, thank you for the kind and well-informed comments. It is clear you speak from experience and we appreciate you sharing your story with us.

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