Nuclear plant sale prompts lawsuit

25 May 2005

The Wisconsin state Public Service Commission (PSC) is facing a lawsuit from the Citizens’ Utility Board (CUB) that is aimed at stopping the sale of the Kewaunee nuclear plant to energy company Dominion Resources.

The PSC initially rejected the sale of the 543MWe plant to a subsidiary of Virginia-based Dominion over concerns that the state could lose authority over the facility but changes to the terms of the deal saw the PSC unanimously approve the sale in March.

Dominion will pay $220 million to buy the plant from Wisconsin Power & Light, the state utility unit of Alliant Energy and Wisconsin Public Service. Dominion will sell energy back to the utilities until 2013 and the revised deal also refunds $193 million to ratepayers and lets them off costs if the facility is shut down.

Dominion is not permitted to store any out-of-state nuclear waste at the facility and must remove contamination during the decommissioning phase under the terms of the deal. However, the CUB suit argues that such promises are worthless.

Kewaunee’s licence to operate expires in 2013, though the plant could get an extension. The transaction is expected to close by the end of June.

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