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Millstone Hopeful Regulators See Nuclear Power As "At Risk"

Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Creative Commons

The owner of the Millstone nuclear plant is praising a state decision it says could let it sell its electricity more competitively.

Millstone lobbied for months at the state capitol to sell its power alongside renewables like solar and wind.

Last fall, they won that fight. And now, the focus has shifted to whether Connecticut’s only nuclear plant, which provides about half of the state’s power, is at risk of closing.

If state regulators say it is, Millstone could get preferential treatment in upcoming power contracts.

In a zero-carbon request for proposals issued this week, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said it will weigh the risk of closure into contract decisions as soon as 2022 -- or earlier, if immediate risk can be proven.

In a statement, Millstone owner Dominion praised the decision and said it hopes audited financial statements given to regulators will get it that “at risk” designation soon.

Previous reports from state energy officials concluded Millstone would remain profitable through 2035.

Energy producers from the fossil fuel industry to solar and wind energy have joined with environmental activists to criticize the arrangement. Writing in letters to regulators that “at risk” designations are not needed and hinder efforts to develop more innovative sources of power.

The DEEP is expected to issue its RFP decision in the winter.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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