Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Westinghouse to build Utah nuclear plant

Electricity » Blue Castle signs agreement to go with the AP1000 model, offering ‘passive’ safety technology.

By Brian Maffly

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Aug 21 2014 05:32 pm • Last Updated Sep 17 2014 04:54 pm

A firm seeking to bring nuclear power to Utah has reached an agreement with Westinghouse Electric Co. to design and build a 1,500-megawatt plant in Emery County.

Blue Castle Holdings announced Wednesday it has signed a memorandum of understanding that commits the company to Westinghouse’s AP1000, a pressurized water reactor the company is constructing at four other sites around the world, including two U.S. plant expansions. This model is known for its "passive" safety systems, designed to shut down the plant in the event of a mishap.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The two-unit generating station would stand on Utah state trust land outside the town of Green River.

The project, spearheaded by former Utah Rep. Aaron Tilton, has a long way to go before it spins kilowatts into the grid, but Tilton characterized the agreement as an important step to move the project forward.

The two companies will work as partners on activities associated with the proposed plant, including marketing, nuclear safety licensing, permit acquisition, design, construction, start-up, testing, operation and maintenance, according to a news release. The project is expected to employ 2,500 people during construction and 1,000 during the 60-year life of the plant.

While such a power plant would emit no carbon or other pollutants associated with fossil-fuel combustion, several Utah environmental groups oppose Blue Castle, citing the potential for catastrophic accidents, uncertainties about waste disposal, and the heavy use of water to cool its reactors.

Two years ago, the state engineer agreed to let Kane and San Juan counties lease 53,000 acre-feet of water a year to operate the reactor. That’s an amount capable of serving a city of up 200,000 homes, but it’s hardly a dent in the Green River’s flow, state lawyers argued last year.

Led by HEAL Utah, environmentalists sued and lost in state court to block the water transfer. That ruling is now under appeal.

Tribal representatives from communities along the Colorado River gathered Monday in Moab to discuss their concerns about the upstream location of a nuclear facility. A discharge of radiation could harm their key water source.

"Taking care of this river is very important to us," said Amanda Barrera, Colorado River Indian Tribes council representative, according to the Moab Sun News. "We hold seniority rights to it. We are here to educate ourselves and take information back to our people."

story continues below
story continues below

Blue Castle, a Utah-based company, so far has invested $17 million. It intends to sell the nuclear project to a larger company to build and operate once it gets the required permits, according to court testimony last year. Company officials expect the plant to produce power by around 2024, replacing output from Utah’s coal-fired stations that face retirement in the coming decades.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.