Palisades sues federal government over lack of waste storage

Oct 9, 2012

Nuclear waste is the 800 lb gorilla for the nuclear power industry.

Where do you stash waste that can have a half-life of tens of thousands of years?

The federal government has been trying to figure out a long term nuclear waste plan for decades. Yucca Mountain in Nevada was to be the site, but that plan was defunded by the Obama Administration in 2010.

Without a long-term solution, nuclear waste is typically stored on-site at nuclear power plants around the nation.

Now news that Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, run by Entergy Energy, joins a list of other nuclear power plant operators to sue the federal government over a lack of waste storage.

From the Kalamazoo Gazette:

In the complaint, filed Sept. 26 in federal court, Entergy Energy says it has paid fees of about $6 million a year to the government to take its nuclear waste. But since the DOE has not done so, Entergy has had to continue to store its nuclear waste, which it estimates has cost the company $100 million. The exact costs associated with the claims were not established in the complaint....

"The government ... has failed to perform its reciprocal obligation to dispose of (spent nuclear reactor fuel), and currently has no plan to meet these obligations," the lawsuit reads. "(Entergy) has incurred and will continue to incur significant costs associated with procuring additional (nuclear fuel) storage capacity, and other damages as a result of the government's failure to comply with its contractual obligations."

Early last month, the NRC said it would stop issuing permits for new nuclear power plants, and it would stop issuing license extensions for existing plants until it could resolve the nuclear waste issue.

From CNN Money:

The government's main watchdog, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, believes that current storage plans are safe and achievable. But a federal court said that the NRC didn't detail what the environmental consequences would be if the agency is wrong.

"We are now considering all available options for resolving the waste issue," the five-member NRC said in a ruling earlier this week. "But, in recognition of our duties under the law, we will not issue [reactor] licenses until the court's remand is appropriately addressed."