Nuclear Waste Costing Taxpayers Billions

Monday, March 29, 2010

A 30-year failure to develop a permanent site for storing nuclear waste has cost the federal government billions of dollars in fines paid to power companies. After putting all of its hopes in the Yucca Mountain repository, Washington now is starting over with finding a location following the Obama administration’s rejection of the Nevada underground site.

In the meantime, the Department of Energy is not living up to its legal obligation to take nuclear waste off the hands of utilities that have been forced to temporarily store spent fuel rods and other radioactive material. As of 2008, the government had already paid $565 million in damages stemming from industry lawsuits, with nearly $800 million more pending on appeal.
And to make matters even worse, the Bush administration promised that the government would take the waste from 21 reactors that haven’t been built yet, bringing the total anticipated amount stored waste to the size of two Yucca Mountain repositories.
“It was rash for the Bush Administration to sign contracts for new reactors while taxpayers are on the hook for billions due to default on existing waste contracts,” Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, told the media. “These new contracts are likely to add billions more in damages at a time when the federal government is struggling with deficit containment.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Nuclear Waste Piles Up, and It's Costing Taxpayers Billions (by Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor)
The Nuclear Waste Problem: Where to Put It? (by Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor)


Wam 12 years ago
Taxpayers (=RATEpayers) paid for Yucca Mountain through their electricity bills. The government received a huge sum of money, something around $40 billion, from the nuclear plants to provide a repository, and then FAILED to do so by cancelling the Yucca mountain project! Not only should the government pay massive fines, they should pay the $40 billion back to the taxpayers (=ratepayers) for doing absolutely NOTHING productive with it!!
cyberclark 12 years ago
Nuclear waste is caused by regulation; not by power generation! If the US would pass legislation allowing for the recovery and reshaping of the power bars there would be no waste! Nor would anyone have to mine uranium again; the recovery supplies are so great! Other countries including Japan are moving in this direction and they have cause to be more nuclear shy than anyone!
davelv 12 years ago
Bush was not "rash" to sign contracts. The Yucca Mountain Repository appeared to be ready for licensing and in support of nuclear power and as required by DOE, these utilities signed standard contracts for spent nuclear fuel disposal. The only "rash" action is that Obama has tried to cancel the repository in violation of the NWPA, which is a federal law that as President he is required to obey. Your story should have chastised Obama, not Bush. How liberal.

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