Judge: Government Must Pay for Decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Plant Waste Storage

In line with the results of similar lawsuits filed by other nuclear plant owners, a judge ruled Thursday that the federal government must compensate the Sacramento Municipal Utility District for spent fuel storage costs at the decommissioned Rancho Seco nuclear plant.

Rancho Seco nuclear plant. Source: Hajhouse via WikipediaThe utility argued that the government's failure to complete a permanent repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain left it bearing the cost to store the reactor's spent fuel on site. The suit sought $80 million in waste storage expenses from 1992 to 2009, KERO news reported, although the Court of Federal Claims judge awarded only $35 million, reasoning that moving fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pool to dry casks in 2004 saved the plaintiff money. The Bakersfield, Calif., TV station quoted a utility district lawyer as saying it might appeal the verdict or seek a settlement with the government.

Following a series of referendums, the Babcock & Wilcox reactor at Rancho Seco was closed in 1989. According to storenuclearfuel.com, its 493 assemblies were moved into 21 Transnuclear NUHOMS casks at an on-site pad.

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  • Anonymous

    These court-imposed charges to the federal government are often wrongly seen as a penalty for not having a federal repository, and an additional reason to build one. In fact they are basically rent payments to the plant owners for holding on to the spent fuel which the federal government would otherwise have to take custody of. It's not the prettiest way of arranging payment but probably a good deal cheaper than if the federal government built its own storage facilities.

  • Anonymous

    Where is storednuclearfuel.com?  I have been unable to find this site.

  • EDIT: There was an extraneous "d" in storenuclearfuel.com. My apologies, and thanks for bringing that to our attention.


    Nuclear Street News Team