Letter to GAO Regarding DOE's Nuclear Waste Storage Proposal

April 25, 2013

Excerpt: DOE now is 15 years behind schedule in taking custody of commercial used nuclear fuel. As a result, utilities have been storing the used fuel on the sites where it was generated. Utilities have filed lawsuits seeking to recover from the federal government the costs incurred. In its fiscal year 2012 Agency Financial Report, DOE reported that utilities had filed 78 lawsuits seeking to recover the costs of storing the used fuel and that the Department of Treasury’s judgment fund had paid about $2.6 billion in claims. DOE estimates that further claims – i.e., taxpayer liability – will amount to about $19.7 billion through 2020, which is the date DOE had determined Yucca Mountain could begin disposal operations when it filed its license application in 2008. That 2020 timeline is no longer viable with DOE’s decision in 2010 to walk away from Yucca Mountain. At this point in time, the program has been delayed an estimated eight years, with each year of delay increasing taxpayer liability for DOE’s failure to take custody of the used fuel.

To read the letter, click here.

To read a related press release, click here.

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