Nuclear Dropout 

One of two proposed nuclear power plants in Idaho is officially withdrawing its proposal.

MidAmerican Nuclear Energy Company, owned by billionaire Warren Buffett's investment group, announced it will no loner seek to build a nuclear power plant near Payette. (BW, Feature, "The Nuclear Option," Jan. 16, 2008).

"We at MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, the parent of MidAmerican Nuclear Energy Company, continue to believe that nuclear energy must be an important part of the nation's energy future. However, consumers expect reasonably priced energy, and the company's due diligence process has led to the conclusion that it does not make economic sense to pursue the project at this time. The decision is based on economic considerations and not on issues related to the suitability of the Idaho site," reads a statement released by Bill Fehrman, president of MidAmerican Nuclear Energy Company.

"We sincerely appreciated the support that local officials and community leaders have shown over the past several months. We also appreciated the opportunity to get to know the people of Payette County and the surrounding areas," Fehrman wrote.

The proposed project was short-lived.

MidAmerican announced its plans last December, and quickly held a series of public meetings and alerted the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of intent.

A second nuclear power plant is still proposed for Owyhee County, but has met strong public resistance.

This plant is the project of Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc, a relatively unknown group with questionable financing resources.

Joe Weatherby, who helped write the Owyhee County Energy Plan, questions the economic viability of the proposed plant near Bruneau in light of MidAmerican's decision. If a company owned by Warren Buffett can't find a way to sell energy at a low-enough cost, he wonders how Alternate Energy Holdings will.

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