Operators of the troubled Rancho Seco nuclear power plant have been advised by an analyst to permanently close the plant rather than continue costly efforts to restart it after a two-year shutdown. "Our analysis shows closing the plant would save $200 million to $1 billion over the next 12 years," energy policy analyst Joseph Kriesberg told the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Board of Directors. Kriesberg, with the Ralph Nader consumer group Public Citizen, said SMUD should decide the issue before its ratepayers vote June 7 on whether to maintain the plant or permanently close it. Otherwise, he said, the publicly owned utility will continue to "throw good money after bad." Other speakers noted that SMUD has spent more than $400 million since the plant was idled by problems on Dec. 26, 1985. Meanwhile, Rancho Seco officials hope to restart the plant about March 20.
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