Made to Be Broken

Xcel comes begging for more nuclear waste storage

Anderson agrees that Xcel's nuclear dilemma is largely self-imposed. "This is really the result of poor planning on their part," the senator says. "They really haven't taken responsible steps toward replacing that power. They pushed this to the last second, and that minimizes the options and maximizes the cost."

The utility's foot-dragging puts the legislature in a difficult spot, Anderson adds: Welsh on the 1994 law, or shift the financial burden of hastily replacing the state's nuclear power generation to ratepayers. While the utility has yet to proffer any concrete legislation, Anderson is already preparing for a debate as bitterly divisive as the one in 1994. "Obviously they think they have a more favorable political climate this time," she says. "I'd sure like to avoid a bloodbath if possible, but I don't know if we can."

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