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Opposition to the Green River nuclear plant centers on its projected use of scarce water ("Nuclear plant company defends water rights," Tribune, Sept. 23). In addition to that excellent reason to object, we should also consider the plant's projected cost: about $18 billion.

To put that amount in perspective, it's more than 3 times the state's total annual tax revenue. Alternatively, it amounts to more than 10 years worth of all electricity payments in Utah. But does that matter when a private firm seeks permission to build the plant? Yes.

The firm Blue Castle "intends to develop the project to the point where Rocky Mountain Power or other utilities will take it over." But Rocky Mountain's parent corporation, Pacifi-Corp, is not interested. Little wonder when the tab is $18 billion.

If this plant is built, taxpayers and ratepayers — we, the people — will end up with the bill. That's been the history of nuclear power plants in this country, and we are set to repeat it. Is there an alternative? Yes.

By my rough estimate, $18 billion, given current incentives, would be more than enough to install solar panels on every residential building in the state, which would substantially reduce utility bills without using any water.

Robert Argenbright

Salt Lake City

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