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Rezone plans for commercial nuke plant halted

Proposed future site of AEHI's nuclear reactor
Proposed future site of AEHI's nuclear reactor

Rezone plans for a commercial nuclear plant near the Oregon-Idaho border are on hold. Payette County, Idaho Commissioners took the action after the plant’s developer was accused of running a stock scam.

The three Payette County Commissioners agreed unanimously to stop further consideration of zoning changes for a nuclear power plant. A small Idaho energy company proposed the commercial nuclear plant on what is presently private ranchland. It’s about an hour’s drive northwest of Boise.

The company, Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., is now in disarray after federal regulators charged its two top executives with stock fraud.

Payette County Prosecutor Anne-Marie Kelso says she advised her commissioners to hit pause:

“The reason we put it on hold is because the applicant is not going to be able to continue to pay the costs needed to proceed.”

Kelso says the county will revisit the issue in February of next year. That’s around the same time AEHI’s chief executive Don Gillispie and vice president Jennifer Ransom will answer the stock fraud charges in federal court.

In a press release, the company says it “fully intends to continue with the Payette nuclear project.”

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.