Utility wins DoE waste lawsuit

7 December 2006

The US Court of Federal Claims has awarded the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) $39.8 million for breach of contract against the United States’ Department of Energy.

The suit relates to the failure of the DoE to take title to spent fuel from SMUD’s reactors, as set out in the 1983 Nuclear Waste Policy Act.

The award comes after two related trials on the storage of spent nuclear fuel from SMUD’s now closed Rancho Seco Generating Station.

The government had not followed through on its obligation to collect and dispose of SMUD’s spent fuel due to delays in opening the Yucca Mountain repository or another federal storage facility, consequently SMUD was forced to develop and implement a dry storage facility.

In 1998, SMUD brought suit in the Court of Federal Claims to recover the cost of building, loading, and operating the dry-storage system.

The judgment also validates SMUD’s decision to move the spent nuclear fuel at Rancho Seco to dry storage.

According to a statement from the utility, the company took this action “when it became apparent that the federal government was not making progress on the Yucca Mountain disposal site in Nevada.”




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