Alternate Energy Holding Inc (AEHI) has signed a participation agreement with PowerEd Corp to form a new company to jointly develop nuclear reactors worldwide. The companies hope to advise governments on the best way to build reactors and use them for desalination.
Under the latest agreement - which would include Idaho's first commercial nuclear power plant - PowerEd of Houston, Texas, will contribute "international energy leadership" and initial funding, while AEHI will contribute its nuclear expertise and management team. The new company would be jointly held by AEHI and PowerEd.
Don Gillispie, president and CEO of AEHI, said: "This participation agreement, among other projects, will form the basis for a final agreement to fund the federal application process and, ultimately, build a 1600 MWe nuclear power plant in Idaho to help meet our national energy needs." AEHI said that the agreement would be finalized in the coming months, assuming successful due diligence.
In March, AEHI announced that it had created a new holding company, International Reactors Inc (IRI), to assist developing countries - particularly in Latin America and the Middle East - with the construction of nuclear power plants for electricity generation and the desalination of water. At the time, AEHI said that it was in the early stages of drafting a memorandum of understanding between IRI and an undisclosed developing country regarding the construction of an "IRI advanced nuclear facility."
One of AEHI's projects is the Idaho Energy Complex, which is intended to include a 1600 MWe advanced nuclear power reactor. In addition, the complex will include a biofuels component, using excess reactor heat to produce fuels from local agricultural waste and crops. Under a revised plan, the company will select a reactor supplier and constructor by the end of 2008. AEHI now plans to submit a combined construction and operating licence (COL) application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) by mid-2009. The company said the plant could start operating in late 2016.
In January this year the AEHI's Idaho reactor project was linked by a memorandum of understanding to the Unistar scheme for deploying standardized Areva EPRs across North America. World Nuclear News understands that relationship has ended.
In April, AEHI said that it had changed the proposed site for the Idaho plant. Originally planned for a site in Owyhee County, near Bruneau, the company said that it was now proposing to construct the reactor at a site in Elmore County, some 15 miles upstream on the Snake River. The company said that preliminary geologic studies found old underground faults at the Owyhee site. AEHI added that several advantages, including lower land costs and existing infrastructure, made the Elmore site more attractive for the construction of the facility anyway.
In September 2007, PowerEd, which is owned by a Yemeni national, signed a $15 billion agreement with the Yemeni Ministry of Electricity & Energy under which PowerEd was to construct five nuclear power reactors in Yemen with a total capacity of 5000 MWe. However, the Yemeni government reportedly decided to cancel the deal the following month after the disclosure of "information that the company is unqualified to carry out the project." The US Securities and Exchange Commission had apparently warned the Yemeni government that PowerEd's "overall standing was volatile, did not have any ventures in its field and had quite a financial deficit which made it very risky for investors."