WASHINGTON, DC – Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) today responded to changes to the nuclear waste fee. Effective tomorrow, the fee will be zeroed out to 0.0 mill per kilowatt hour of electricity generated and sold. In November, a federal court ordered the Department of Energy to submit to Congress a proposal to zero out the nuclear waste fee “…until such a time as either the Secretary chooses to comply with the [Nuclear Waste Policy] Act as it is currently written, or until Congress enacts an alternative waste management plan.”
Shimkus stated, “Ratepayers have poured billions of dollars into the Nuclear Waste Fund over the past 20 years, but there has been little progress on a nuclear waste solution. And under this administration, we have gone backward. The court was right to zero out the fee until DOE begins moving forward on a real nuclear waste solution rather than the department’s current ‘pie in the sky’ strategy. The court also acknowledged that the secretary ‘still declines to carry out his basic statutory obligation.’ To get our nuclear future back on track, the secretary simply needs to carry out that obligation and restart Yucca Mountain. Short of that, I am glad this annual theft of $750 million from electricity consumers has finally come to an end.”
BACKGROUND: Since 1983, electricity consumers have contributed to the Nuclear Waste Fund in return for the DOE developing a permanent disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain. The Nuclear Waste Fund has a balance of over $34 billion and earns about $2 billion in interest each year.