Appeals Court: Nuclear Waste Fees Should Drop to $0

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Appeals Court: Nuclear Waste Fees Should Drop to $0

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On Tuesday, an appeals court reprimanded the Department of Energy for collecting waste fees from nuclear utilities after the Obama administration cancelled the Yucca Mountain repository project.

DOE collects about $750 million annually through the one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour surcharge. After the Yucca Mountain project was shelved, the Nuclear Energy Institute and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners sued. They argued DOE could no longer determine if the fee was appropriate, given there was no longer a project to evaluate. A majority on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and ordered the agency to submit a proposal to Congress to change the fee amount to zero until DOE restarts the Yucca Mountain project, per the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, or until Congress adopts an alternative.

Following the decision, NEI general counsel Ellen Ginsberg said, "We agree with the court that unless and until the Energy Department's repository program is restarted or another waste disposal program is developed, it is appropriate that the Nuclear Waste Fund fee be suspended. The court's decision should prompt Congress to reform the government's nuclear waste disposal program. We strongly encourage Congress to establish a new waste management entity and endow it with the powers and funding necessary to achieve the goals originally established in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act."

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  • In fairness, they should return the money already collected to the nuclear utilities.  DOE's management of the Waste disposal project has been poor, they have nothing to show for almost $7 Billion spent and they don't have a clue wht to do next.  

    Money collected for a nuclear repository should be refunded while the government and DOE gets it's act together.  

    Nuclear utilities can use the money already collected to defray the cost of creating and maintaining storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel that the government has title to.  This is an expense that they would have avoided if the government has lived up to it's promise to create a national repository.

    I cannot think of any good excuse to allow the government to continue to have possession of moneys that it collected based on contracts it failed to meet.Given their poor stewardshp, their lack of commitment and their negative attitude, it would seem appropriate to return fundins collected for this project.  

    On a side note, if the government can't even manage to build what is basically a hole in the ground and take delivery from a very limited number of sites, who in their right mind would trust them to run the healthcare process for the entire country?    

  • Concur.  Enough already with the piling up of 30 billion dollars and no progress.  The most studied piece of earth in history either needs to finish the license and be loaded with fuel, or an alternative solution needs to be expedited.

  • Nuclear waste and politics are inextricably linked and will be.  What is the global record for siting long term disposal repositories?  Where has it been done to point to a model success?

    Meanwhile 10,000 years goes to 20,000 years with virtually no credit for future technology advances to deal with it.  Nuclear technology has been around for ~70 years.  Surely we can collectively figure out what to do in the next 100.  It is not about the money - it is about making a real repository a priority and providing a model.  So long as the voting public is NIMBY, it simply won't happen without $$.

    For NRC commissioner once said to me the issue is overblown, dry cask storage works.  The trouble is not storing onsite /near site forever, SFPools are distributed and present  much more risk.  Long term waste storage will have to happen or be a linchpin in the slow decline of Nuclear Power.

    A pro nuclear realist

  • This should open doors for waste disposal contractors, Grant  there should be tighter regulations on them, but when you see the waste of millions of dollars in equipment and materials generated by outages and DOE D&D jobs there is a lot of waste. Most of this stuff is in like new condition if it has been used at all.