A brand-new nuclear power plant may be on its way into Idaho near the Oregon border in Payette County.

Yesterday, the Payette County Planning and Zoning Commission approved a rezoning request that would allow Alternate Energy Holdings Inc. to build on a 5,300-acre “green field nuclear site” – once it has the proper federal approvals, of course. The nearest town to the site is New Plymouth, Idaho, about 10 miles southeast of Ontario.

From Alternate Energy Holdings:

“The decision by Payette County Planning and Zoning Commissioners is nationally significant as being the first decision of its kind regarding a green field nuclear site in 33 years. A green field site is one that has not been previously developed or approved for a nuclear power plant.”

The company still needs a final rezone approval from the Payette County Board of Commissioners, and from there executives say they will begin preparing a construction and operating application for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval.

Boise Weekly reported proponents of the project outnumbered opponents 2-1 at the planning meeting Thursday:

“The critical debate expectedly centered around jobs—AEHI has promised thousands of jobs during construction and full-time operations.

A half-dozen representatives from the Snake River Alliance took to the microphone to question the proposed plant’s stress on water, Idaho’s need for more power and the economic feasibility of bringing highly skilled jobs into a rural setting.

About three hours into the marathon, Payette P&Z Commissioner Farrell Rawlings said he had heard enough from the Alliance.

‘Our governor is in favor of this. Every mayor in this county is in favor of this. I’m offended that there’s not one positive thing that you and your group has contributed to this discussion,’ said Rawlings.”

White House leaders recently indicated they’re open to nuclear power as a clean energy source.

Nuclear energy is preferred by some because it is efficient and doesn’t produce greenhouse gases, but it does use water, and it requires uranium mining, and long-term storage of the radioactive depleted uranium fuel.