February 7, 2013

Payment to Maine Yankee owner may lower electric rates

Damages of $81.7 million arise from federal failure to deal with disposal of nuclear waste.

By Tux Turkel tturkel@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

At the former Maine Yankee nuclear plant site in Wiscasset, steel canisters inside concrete casks hold highly radioactive fuel rods that will stay there until the federal government decides how to dispose of them.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

Norton noted, however, that the monetary damage award doesn't do anything to remove the spent fuel from the decommissioned reactor sites.

He expressed optimism about a new Department of Energy strategy report, in which the Obama administration supports an integrated nuclear waste management system. That system would include a pilot interim storage facility, with the initial focus of accepting spent nuclear fuel from closed reactor sites.

The announced damage award also holds promise that ratepayers will see more money in the future.

The ongoing litigation between the three companies and the Department of Energy is being conducted in phases. An earlier U.S. Court of Claims decision ruled that utility companies cannot receive damage awards for costs that have not yet been incurred. As a result, the three companies expect to continue to take legal action every several years to request damages for ongoing costs.

The three companies are currently seeking approximately $247 million in additional damages in a second round of cases that were filed with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in 2007.

In these cases, Connecticut Yankee is seeking $135.3 million, Yankee Atomic $76.6 million, and Maine Yankee $35 million. These numbers reflect the damages that Connecticut Yankee and Yankee Atomic incurred from Jan. 1, 2002 through Dec. 31, 2008, and that Maine Yankee incurred from Jan. 1, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2008.

Staff Writer Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or at:

tturkel@pressherald.com

 

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