A judge has awarded Maine Yankee Atomic Power Co. another $24.6 million in damages from the U.S. Department of Energy.
U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge James F. Merow released his decision on Thursday, April 7. The decision also makes awards to two affiliates: $32.6 million to Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Co. and $19.6 million to Yankee Atomic Electric Co.
The damages are “for the costs related to the government’s continuing failure to honor its contractual obligations to remove spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C waste from the three sites,” according to a press release from the three companies.
The award represents damages the company incurred from Jan. 1, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2012.
“We are very pleased to have been awarded an additional $76.8 million in costs resulting from the Department of Energy’s continuing failure to honor its contractual obligations to begin removing spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C waste from our three sites,” said Wayne Norton, chief nuclear officer of Maine Yankee Atomic Power Co. and president of the other two companies. “We urge the federal government to fulfill its commitment to remove this material from our sites without further delay.”
The courts previously awarded the three companies approximately $395.4 million for the first and second phases of litigation. The $76.8 million award represents the third phase.
“The ongoing litigation between the three companies and the Department of Energy is being conducted in phases as an earlier U.S. Federal Appeals Court decision ruled that utility companies … cannot receive damage awards for costs that have not yet been incurred,” according to the press release. “As a result, the three companies have, and expect to continue, to litigate with the (Department of Energy) every several years to request damages for costs incurred by the companies.”
An agreement between the companies and state utility regulators in Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts details an approach for applying the awards in a manner “that best serves the interests of the ratepayers” in each state, according to the press release.
“While recovering the Phase I and Phase II monetary damages from the federal government and the decision in the Phase III cases is positive for the ratepayers, it does not result in spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C waste being removed from our sites,” Norton said. “We urge Congress to implement a pilot program to remove spent nuclear fuel and High-Level Waste from shut-down reactor sites and relocate it to one or more consolidated interim storage facilities in a volunteer host community as proposed in U.S. Senate and House legislation introducted this session.
“The pilot program provision in the bills has bipartisan support in Congress and is a key component of the administration’s strategy for managing the nation’s spent nuclear fuel; however, Congress must enact this legislation in order for DOE to implement the pilot program.
“The three Yankee companies will continue to work closely with our stakeholders to hasten the day when the federal government fulfills its obligation to remove the spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C waste from our sites so that they can be resued for other purposes and the cost burden on ratepayers is lifted.”
For more information about the companies and the former nuclear-reactor sites, go to 3yankees.com.