Letter to the editor: Protest use of water from Green River for nuclear power
Living Rivers, Uranium Watch, and the Glen Canyon Group of the Sierra Club filed a joint protest and request for a hearing on the application by the Kane County Water Conservancy District to provide water for a proposed nuclear power plant near Green River. The protest was submitted to the State Engineer, Division of Water Rights, on May 26. KCWCD requested a change of the point of withdrawal of 29,600 acre feet (over 2.5 million gallons per day) from the Colorado River to the Green River so that Transition Power Development LLC (Transition Power) would have some of the water they need for the two-unit nuclear reactor, called the Blue Castle Generation Project.
Transition Power proposes to site the reactor on land about three miles west of the city of Green River in Emery County. The site is part of an industrial development park on land that Emery County has leased from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. The KCWCD leased the water to in 2007. In addition to the water from the KCWCD, Transition Power has leased 24,000 acre-feet of water from San Juan County Water Conservancy District. There is no information about the reactor design, costs, or where the electricity will be sent.
The joint protestors are concerned that the application does not provide any information responsive to the criteria that the state engineer must consider. These include the feasibility of the project, availability of water, ability of Transition Power to finance the project, and environmental impacts of the withdrawal of the water and the nuclear facility.
The conservancy district and Transition Power can no longer withhold information about the proposed reactor and the viability of such a hazardous project so close to a major tributary of the Colorado River, major transportation corridors, and the center of a recreational and agricultural economy.
The state engineer must evaluate how this proposed water withdrawal in a time period of severe water shortages would likely contribute harm toward pre-existing water users in the State of Utah.