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Friday, June 10, 2011

Genoa nuclear waste set to move to dry casks

From an article by Chris Hubbuch in the Winona Daily News:

Dairyland Power will begin removing spent fuel from its Genoa, Wis., nuclear plant and encasing it in steel and concrete casks later this spring, nearly a quarter century after the plant ceased operations.

Though the federal government has no immediate plans to take possession of the radioactive waste, the move to store it temporarily on site should cut by two-thirds the power cooperative's cost to staff the plant and speed up the decommissioning process, expected to take another seven years and bring decommissioning costs to an estimated $79 million.

It's a scenario that Dairyland's founders couldn't have envisioned in 1941, when they banded together to create a network to provide reliable electric power to rural Wisconsin.

But those founders were thinking about the future, said Dairyland president William Berg, who encouraged some 700 delegates of Dairyland's members to continue building value during his address at the cooperative's 70th annual meeting Wednesday.

That means building a system with the capacity to meet future needs while preserving the environment and embracing renewable energy sources when the future of coal - the basis for most of today's power - is in question.

Dairyland now generates about 11 percent of its electricity with renewables such as wind, hydro and biomass-fueled generators. Berg said the company is on track to meet its goal of 25 percent by 2025.

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