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Energy Northwest Considers
more Nuclear Power

by Associated Press
Examiner, June 3, 2009

RICHLAND, Wash. - A quarter century after its ambitious plan to build five nuclear plants crumbled into a punch line for government incompetence, a regional power consortium in the Pacific Northwest is quietly shopping the idea of building another reactor. Energy Northwest, which is already expanding its wind, solar and biomass electricity generation, aims to satisfy increasing demand for carbon-free power in one of the country's most environmentally conscious regions.

In a May 27 letter obtained by The Associated Press, the consortium asked each of its 25 member public utilities and municipalities to pitch in $25,000 for further research into building one or more small reactors. Those who pay would have first rights to any power produced if a plant is built.

But turning to nuclear power could be politically risky: Last time the agency went down this path, it successfully built just one of five proposed plants, spawning what was then the largest municipal bond default in U.S. history. Unused cooling towers still loom over the landscape, and consumers are still paying for the project's collapse in their power bills. The fiasco forced Energy Northwest to change its name from the Washington Public Power Supply System, or WPPSS, which came to be known as "whoops."

Associated Press
Energy Northwest Considers more Nuclear Power
Examiner, June 3, 2009

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