Locke, BPA Signby CBB Staff
Washington Gov. Gary Locke Wednesday (Dec. 3) signed the final agreement officially terminating two unfinished nuclear power plant sites at Hanford and establishing a framework for restoring the sites by 2026.
“I am glad that we have finally resolved some longstanding issues and now have a blueprint for restoring the sites of these unfinished projects,” Locke said. “This agreement is good for the environment, good for energy consumers, good for the energy business and benefits our entire state.”
Joining the governor at the signing ceremony were Steve Wright, administrator for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA); Vic Parrish, chief executive officer of Energy Northwest; Jim Luce, chair of the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC); and Len Barson, director of federal government relations of the Nature Conservancy.
Under the agreement, BPA and Energy Northwest will assume responsibility for immediately securing the health and safety of Hanford’s two unfinished reactor projects, Washington nuclear plants 1 and 4, and for Level 3D restoration at both sites.
Level 3D will allow the main structures on each site to be sealed and secured, and the rest of the area restored to its original condition. The companies have agreed to have both sites restored by 2026.
“This agreement allows us to close this chapter in our history,” Parrish said. “By removing any health and safety risks in the area, we can use the balance of the infrastructure to build a foundation for the region's future resource development.”
The agreement also calls for BPA and Energy Northwest to immediately pay $3.5 million to EFSEC for off-site mitigation. EFSEC intends to work with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Nature Conservancy and other environmental groups to find appropriate land for off-site mitigation.
“This is a momentous occasion,” Wright said. “Today we have answered the question of how to deal with site restoration in a fiscally responsible way that avoids rate impacts to our utility customers.”
In the 1970s, the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS), a consortium of public utilities and local governments, in partnership with BPA and other utilities, began construction of five nuclear power plants. Three of the plants were located at Hanford and two in Grays Harbor County.
In the early 1980s, the WPPSS defaulted on some of their bonds and construction stopped at all but one facility. At the time, it was the largest bond default in U.S. history.
Today, the two unfinished reactor sites in Grays Harbor County are a industrial and technology center, and the completed reactor at Hanford, the Columbia Generating Station, is in operation.
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