Peter Rickards denies the charges
The Mountainhome news reports that Twin Falls podiatrist and anti--nuclear activist Peter Rickards was taken into custody by an Elmore County Sheriff's Deputy and cited for trespassing and battery. The arrest stems from an alleged altercation with an Idaho Energy Complex (IEC) staff member during a public information meeting held Monday June 16 in Glenns Ferry on the nuclear plant proposal by Alternative Energy Holdings Inc. (AEHI).
According to the newspaper report, Rickards, who had been distributing anti-nuclear literature at the theater door, was asked to leave the premises by the owner of the Opera Theatre, Rich Wills. Rickards allegedly refused and entered the building just prior to the meeting. That is when the alleged battery took place. Police Sgt. Don Tveidt indicated that Rickards allegedly shoved an IEC staff member who was attempting to block him from entering the meeting.
According to the newspaper report, the meeting had been underway for about 20 minutes when Deputy Ed Belk approached Rickards and asked him to step outside. The paper reports several members of the audience began shouting at the deputy asking why Rickards was being asked to leave. Rickards' reported refusal to comply with Deputy Belk's request resulted in his being handcuffed and led out of the building, accompanied by a few IEC staff members.
AEHI Public Meetings
AEHI has been holding a series of public meetings in southwestern Idaho to explain its proposal for a $4.5 billion merchant nuclear plant that would have a capacity of 1,600 MWe using an AREVA EPR and which would be built as part of a partnership with UniStar / Constellation Energy. The public meetings held by AEHi are not part of an NRC licensing process for the proposed reactor.
The company has generated a lot of skepticism about its proposal due to its apparent inability to raise funds for the project and a stock price that hovers at less than $1.00/share. The company moved its planned site for the planned reactor earlier this year from Owyhee County to Elmore County. One of the reasons the company moved its site from the south side to the north side of the Snake River was to avoid the expense of building a bridge over the river that would support delivery of reactor components and construction materials. At the former location it got into a dispute with county officials when it initially failed to pay a $50,000 fee for permit reviews. It later paid the fee.
AEHI President and CEO Don Gillispie has been seen more frequently in Idaho in recent months trying to build support for the project. While he craves media attention, the incident this week probably isn't the type of report he wants to see in the press associated with his project.