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Groups plan nuclear protest in Utah

May 10, 2012 at 10:20 AM

MOAB, Utah, May 10 (UPI) -- It is "foolish" to take steps to build a nuclear reactor near the Green River in Utah given the dangers exposed by the 2011 Japanese disaster, advocates say.

A group of environmental advocacy groups and American Indian tribes announced plans to stage a demonstration Saturday in Green River, Utah, to protest plans for a reactor in the area by Blue Castle Holding.

"It's foolish to build thirsty nuclear reactors in a desert like this," John Weisheit, conservation director of Moab-based Living Rivers, said in a statement. "The Green River is unreliable and over-appropriated."

Utah officials, he said, are worried there won't be enough water to operate the plant.

Blue Castle, however, said it has secured the water rights for 53,600 acre feet per year from state regulators that were originally designated for coal plants that were never built. The project, the company says, would double the electricity generation to the area while using less than 1 percent of Utah's current water division.

Sarah Fields, director of the organization Uranium Watch, said the plant concerns more than just residents in Utah, however.

Critics of nuclear power point to the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan following a 9-magnitue earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

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