The current edition of Newsweek contains the tortuous tale of how Energy Northwest, which operates the region's only nuclear energy plant, teamed up with two U.S. Senators from Kentucky to pull off a complex, $711 million purchase of 31 years worth of fuel for the plant.
The problem, according to the article's author, Pulitzer-prize winner David Cay Johnston, is Energy Northwest didn't need the fuel for its Richland, Wash. plant, and and paid at least a quarter of a billion too much.
"The deal crafted by Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader,
and Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian, required the federal agency that
owns hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest, the Bonneville Power
Administration (BPA), to pay $700 million for uranium fuel that could
have been purchased on the open market for just $450 million.
Interesting sidebar: Bonneville didn't need this fuel," Johnston writes.
"The agreements between Energy Northwest, TVA, USEC and DOE were part of
an initiative to turn depleted uranium into low-cost nuclear fuel, and
those agreements are now generating tens of millions of dollars in
additional rate case savings (2014-2017) for Northwest ratepayers.
Additionally, the cost predictability achieved by these agreements will
provide tens of millions of dollars more in regional savings through
2028," Energy Northwest wrote.