Maine Yankee on Wiscasset’s research project

Posted:  Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - 6:15pm

Maine Yankee welcomes Wiscasset’s help in trying to get the former nuclear power plant’s spent fuel out of town, according to April 11 comments from a company spokesman.

Maine Yankee has tried for years to get the federal government to secure a place for the waste to go, but the political wheels continue to turn on plans for interim and permanent sites where the waste can be moved from Wiscasset and other sites of former plants.

The spent fuel will likely remain in Wiscasset for many more years than first projected, town and Maine Yankee officials have said.

Town lawyers and town officials on April 7 announced plans to ask Maine’s Congressional delegation for help securing $35,000 in funding for a two-pronged, eight-month research project. One study would look for ways to encourage the federal government to remove the waste from Wiscasset; the other would look at how the waste might be able to generate local revenue, including whether the town might be able to get money out of the federal government for hosting the waste’s storage.

Wiscasset’s existing tax deal with Maine Yankee runs out in 2023.

In an April 11 email responding to questions from the Wiscasset Newspaper, Maine Yankee spokesman Eric Howes declines comment on the town’s plans to explore the storage site’s revenue potential. But Howes reiterates past statements favorable to the town helping in efforts to have the waste removed.

“Maine Yankee welcomes the town of Wiscasset’s involvement in urging the federal government to fulfill its contractual and statutory obligation to remove the spent nuclear fuel and (radiated steel) from the Maine Yankee site.

“We would be happy to meet with the selectmen to talk further about the national status of this issue and potential opportunities for Wiscasset to make its voice heard,” Howes writes in Saturday’s email.

Maine Yankee and the board of selectmen have spoken before about how the town might be able to help, and they will continue to talk about it, Selectmen’s Vice Chairman Ben Rines Jr. said. “Maine Yankee and Wiscasset are on the same page (about) getting rid of the waste,” Rines said on Monday, April 13.

“It’s merely the federal government that’s not lived up to its responsibilities,” he said.