Connecticut Nuclear Plant Faces Uncertain Future

Conn. Nuclear Plant Faces Uncertain Future
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Conn. Nuclear Plant Faces Uncertain Future

A recent report suggests that New England's largest nuclear power plant could be in trouble because of taxes in the future. Millstone in Waterford is in the clear for now, but it could still be economically vulnerable.

In Connecticut, nearly half of the state's electricity is generated at two nuclear
plants on Millstone Point.
 
The report, by the Institute for Energy and Environment at Vermont Law School, highlights the economic vulnerability of the nuclear power industry, and it says taxes could lead to Millstone's downfall.
 
Here's senior research fellow Mark Cooper speaking on WNPR's Where We Live:
 
"As our knowledge and understanding of safety improves we've got this problem of old reactors that were built with a very different knowledge of safety, right. And now we've got this question of, 'Well, how do we keep up? And sometimes the retrofits -- and that happened in a couple of places -- get so expensive that the reactors are retired."
 
Virginia-based Dominion Resources owns a plant in Wisconsin that was recently forced to close for economic reasons. And it sold a fossil-fuel plant in Salem, Mass. Cooper says New England has made a mistake by becoming too dependent on nuclear power, and needs to transition away from it.
 
"The state did have that energy generation tax on it, but thanks to the efforts of a vast majority of the General Assembly, that tax is going away now. And that's important for the state. Connecticut has the highest electric rates in the country," said Millstone Spokesman Ken Holt. 
 
He says Waterford is in a better position than the plants that have closed.
 
"Right now, Millstone's in a fine position economically. We're not in
danger of shutting down," Holt added.
 
Earlier this year, backlash across party lines forced Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to scratch a proposal to extend a tax on electricity generators that would have earned about $40 million a year from Millstone.