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Posts Tagged ‘spent nuclear fuel’


Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

February 23, 2011
Nuclear Townhall

One of the most persistent myths about nuclear power is that there is no residual value to spent fuel and that the costs of dealing with this supposedly intractable problem are foisted on the public’s coffers.
Disproving the latter thesis once again, the Wisconsin Electric Power Company settled this week for $45.5 million for its share of the government’s partial breach of contract for failing to acceptance commercial spent nuclear fuel beginning in 1998.  The utility won a lawsuit for $51 million in 2009 but the government had appealed.  Some industry estimates put the government’s overall liability at in excess of $50 billion ultimately.
“Now, WE Energies has revealed that the government initiated discussions with the utility in the second half of 2010 and offered to settle the lawsuit,” says this report on World Nuclear News. “Accordingly, on 8 February the parties signed an agreement in which the US has agreed to pay Wisconsin Electric $45.5 million in full and final settlement of the suit. Wisconsin Electric intends return the $31 million net proceeds after litigation costs to its customers, and has written to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to enable it to set up the necessary mechanisms.”
Other states and utilities have indicated they will be asking for money back as well. In December, South Carolina Governor-elect told President Obama in a private meeting that “the federal government has reneged on its promise, and South Carolina wants a refund.”  Both South Carolina and Washington State have sued to block the NRC closedown of the Yucca project. Exelon collected the first $300 million refund in 2008 and other utilities are now following in its path. The payments do not come out of the Nuclear Waste Fund but out of general revenues.
Still, the unraveling of the federal effort casts a shadow over any attempt to build a permanent repository – or better yet initiate a reprocessing strategy. The situation may become clearer or cloudier when the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future makes its report sometime in the next several months.

Read more about it at Nuclear World News