Maine Yankee plant cleanup moves ahead


PORTLAND (AP) – State officials have sketched out a $930,000 settlement plan with Maine Yankee to resolve environmental issues at the former nuclear power plant in Wiscasset.

The plan calls for an expanded nature preserve, a restored salt marsh and several other conservation projects.

Officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection told the Maine Sunday Telegram that the agreement covers environmental issues related to non-radiological contamination, most of which has been linked to oil spills and solvents, on the property at Bailey Point.

“Overall, I think it’s a good deal for the state of Maine and an excellent natural resources initiative,” DEP Commissioner David Littell said Friday.

Gov. John Baldacci designated the DEP as lead trustee for settling damages to groundwater supplies about a year ago. Four state agencies and Maine Yankee officials negotiated to reach the tentative settlement, which the newspaper said could be modified because of concerns raised by the towns of Wiscasset and Woolwich.

Both towns oppose the removal of a dam on lower Montsweag Brook, which forms a natural boundary between the communities.

Maine Yankee, built at a cost of $231 million, went into operation in 1972 and was finally shut down in 1996. Three referendum efforts to close it failed during the 1980s.

Spent fuel rods are still stored above ground in special casks on a 12-acre site, pending approval of a federally licensed, long-term storage facility.

Other buildings have been removed.

Federal officials declared the plant’s decommissioning complete in 2005.

The Telegram said the proposed settlement would fund six projects, including expansion of a nature preserve in Alna, restoration of a salt marsh in Newcastle and dam removal or fish passage installation in Wiscasset and Whitefield.

Participants in the negotiations leading to the agreement included the state departments of Conservation, Marine Resources and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Information from: Portland Press Herald,