Approval sought to sell share of Millstone to Canadian firm

Central Vermont Public Service Corp. has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for permission to transfer its small ownership share in Unit 3 of the Millstone Power Station in Waterford to the Canadian company that is seeking to acquire the Vermont utility.

Central Vermont owns a 1.7 percent share of Unit 3, an arrangement that dates back to the construction of the unit in the 1980s by the Northeast Utilities. Another 4.8 percent is owned by Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co., and Dominion Nuclear Connecticut owns the remainder. NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said NRC must approve an amendment to the nuclear power plant license whenever there is a change in ownership.

Central Vermont is seeking permission to transfer its ownership share in Unit 3 to Gaz Metro Limited Partnership, the Quebec-based company that is planning to acquire it.

Sheehan said that since foreign companies are prohibited from owning U.S. nuclear power plants, Central Vermont and Gaz Metro will have to show the NRC how it will comply with this requirement. In similar situations, foreign companies have put their U.S. nuclear holdings under a board staffed by U.S. citizens who would make all the decisions regarding the facility.

The change in ownership is not expected to have any effect on Millstone's day-to-day operations, said Ken Holt, Dominion spokesman.

Sheehan said the NRC will make a decision within six months. Requests for a public hearing must be made to the NRC within 20 days. The NRC will receive comments on this application for the next 30 days.

For information, contact Carleen Sanders, project manager, at: Plant Licensing Branch 1-2, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C., 20555; or at (301) 415-1606, or via email at carleen.sanders@nrc.gov.

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