Tax Battle Could Shut Down Millstone

Waterford relies on the two nuclear power reactors at Millstone for jobs and tax revenue.

But, after the havoc in Japan, two state legislators wanted to give townspeople a forum on Monday night to ask questions about safety at Millstone of officials of the plant's operator, Dominion. It was also a forum about how a proposed tax could affect the plant.

Residents around the Millstone plant voice their concerns at a hearing about plant safety. (Published Tuesday, April 12, 2011)

"I think you have to understand that, in our community, in Waterford, we've hosted the power plant of course for decades and are very used to conversations like this," State Rep. Betsy Ritter said.

Dozens of residents attended the forum on Monday night at town hall and many voiced concerns about the power station's safety.

Dominion executives told the crowd the company has spent $600 million in safety improvements since 2001.

"We have multiple systems of redundant back-up power. We have flood barriers and tornado doors. People need to kind in mind that these reactors were built to withstand natural disasters," Ken Holt, the spokesperson for Millstone, said.

While hurricanes and tornadoes apparently pose no threat, the power station faces a very real threat from the state Capitol.

State Sen. Andrea Stillman, a Democrat, recently tried to stop the Legislature's energy committee from approving a tax on power generation, a tax Dominion officials said would force it to shut down Millstone.

"To tax one entity to that degree of $330 million a year, I think, is outrageous. It sends a very bad message as to whether Connecticut is truly business friendly," said Stillman.

That bill recently moved from one committee to another. Stillman said it's still a long way off from a vote in the Legislature.