Two Unfinished Nuclear Plants to be Plugged Upby Associated Press
Seattle Times - December 2, 2003
OLYMPIA -- The state has agreed to an agreement that ensures cleanup at the site of Energy Northwest's two unfinished nuclear power plants north of Richland.
"We're very happy it's going to be resolved," said Allen Fiksdal, manager of the state's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council. "It's always been a money issue. We're anxious to see it go forward."
The two plants, plus the operating Columbia Generating Station nearby and two other unfinished plants in Grays Harbor County, were granted site certificates in the 1970s. However, there was no consideration for what would happen if the plants never produced power.
The two Grays Harbor plants eventually were transferred to a local public development authority.
The long-awaited agreement essentially serves as a contract to ensure the remaining two sites will be cleaned up. The governor was expected to sign the agreement this week, Energy Northwest spokesman Don McManman said.
Much of the work to seal up the plants wouldn't begin for at least 23 years, giving Energy Northwest time to consider redevelopment options.
The state and Energy Northwest agreed it would be too expensive to restore the site to its original sagebrush. Instead, the plants will be cleared of debris and plugged up at a cost estimated to be $45 million.
As part of the agreement, the Bonneville Power Administration agreed to become financially responsible for both plants, even though it legally is responsible for just one plant.
That plant was one of two plants involved in the former Washington Public Power Supply System's infamous $2.25 billion bond default.
Jack Baker, an Energy Northwest vice president, called Bonneville's role one of the successes in the agreement.
Bonneville has agreed to put up as much as $4 million for the first phase of the project and will create a trust fund to collect money for the second phase.
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