Alternative Energy Holdings, Inc. has acquired the rights to about 4,000 acres of land on the Snake River in Idaho where it is investigating the possibility of building a new nuclear power plant to serve markets in the Pacific Northwest and California. (See Start-up company pursues plan for nuke plant near Bruneau)Though the site is not close to any population concentrations, some of the site’s “neighbors” are a little concerned about the plant. Their main reason for concern, however, is quite site specific and is carefully expressed as not a general opposition to nuclear power.
The neighbors with an interest are astronomers who do their work at a state owned astronomical observatory located about 13 miles from the proposed plant boundaries. They are worried that exterior lighting at the plant, if not properly designed, will light up the night sky and interfere with their ability to perform their work. That concern is legitimate, but it should be easy to address. The plant will need lighting, but it can be focused on the ground and make no impact on observations from 13 miles away.
After expressing that concern, the article then went into some very well reasoned comments about nuclear power in general. Many of these are familiar to readers of Atomic Insights, but it is always nice to hear others express them. It is interesting to note, however, that the headline writers for the New West Boise, where the article appeared, chose different words to describe the article than I did. The original headline for the story was Idaho Astronomers Worried About Nuke Plant Near Bruneau Dunes Observatory.
It is one thing to be concerned about the exterior lighting, it is another to be “worried” about the plant. The headline writers did their job, however, and ensured that readers like me would go read the story when it appeared in our Google search alerts.