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Utility Votes to Take Bids to Restart Nuclear Plant

June 21, 1989

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ The utility that operates the Rancho Seco nuclear plant is taking bids for a takeover of the power station that voters decided to close.

The 3-2 decision Tuesday by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to take bids over the next 10 days angered many of the activists who have fought for years to shut down the plant, which has a history of operating problems.

The board majority argued that the June 6 ballot measure in which the electorate decided to close the plant doesn’t forbid someone else from runnning it.

The sale of Rancho Seco would save the community the $200 million to $300 million cost of shutting it down, said Joseph Buonaiuto, board president.

Voters earlier this month decided in a non-binding referendum to close the plant, agreeing with opponents’ arguments that it is unsafe and uneconomical, and a majority of the utility board agreed to abide by the outcome.

The plant was taken out of service June 7, and so far about 400 contract workers have lost their jobs.

Sacramentans for Safe Energy, an anti-Rancho Seco group, has said it will sue to stop the transfer of Rancho Seco to businesses that might continue to operate it.

″We will wait and see what happens in the 10-day period,″ said Michael Remy, an lawyer with the group. ″Our position still is that enough is enough.″

The plant, 25 miles southeast of Sacramento, has operated at 39 percent of capacity over its 15-year life.

Quadrex, a nuclear power consulting company in Campbell, Calif., has said it is interested in taking over the plant.

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