Critics Compare Vermont Yankee Sale with Seabrook

05/02/02 12:00AM By John Dillon
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(Host) Vermont utilities say that they got a good deal when they sold the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, despite the higher price to be paid for the Seabrook reactor in New Hampshire.

VPR's John Dillon has more.


(Dillon) A company in Florida said last month it will pay $384 million for the Seabrook, New Hampshire nuclear power plant. Vermont utilities want to sell Yankee for $180 million to a Louisiana company.

After the Seabrook sale was announced, the chairman of the state Public Service Board asked the Vermont companies for more information on their deal. Steve Costello is a spokesman for Central Vermont Public Service Corporation:

(Costello) "We think the Seabrook sale, when the Board sees the numbers, sees the analysis we have provided, [they] will see that the sale compares very favorably with the Seabrook sale. And the Seabrook sale hasn't in any way done anything to change our opinion, except maybe to reinforce it, that the VY sale is a good thing for Vermont and should be approved."

(Dillon) The Seabrook plant produces more than twice the power of Vermont Yankee and it has 26 years left on its operating license, compared to 10 years for Yankee. But Mark Sinclair of the Conservation Law Foundation says the Seabrook price when measured on a per megawatt basis is much higher:

(Sinclair) "I think the Seabrook deal is another indication that the Vermont utilities haven't tried to get top dollar for the Vermont Yankee plant¿. There's twenty times more value per megawatt for this Seabrook plant, which indicates to me that we got fairly low price for Vermont Yankee."

(Dillon) Sinclair criticizes the Yankee deal because it includes a contract that requires Vermont companies to buy back the power from the reactor. He says Vermont consumers could be stuck paying higher than market prices.

But the utilities say that they compared the Seabrook and Yankee sales without or without the power contract and that the Yankee deal still came out ahead.

For Vermont Public Radio, I'm John Dillon.
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