Energy Northwest Awarded $48.7M for Yucca Delaysby Staff
Tri-City Herald, July 15, 2011
A federal court has awarded Energy Northwest $48.7 million in damages from the Department of Energy for delays in opening a Nevada nuclear repository.
The money reimburses Energy Northwest for building and licensing a used fuel storage area at the Columbia Generating Station in Richland.
The ruling came nearly five years after the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that DOE breached its contract for failing to accept the utility's used nuclear fuel.
Energy Northwest's CEO Mark Reddemann called the ruling "a huge victory for rate payers."
But the court decision still does not resolve the issue of long-term storage of used nuclear fuel, Reddemann said in a news release.
Energy Northwest first filed a lawsuit in January 2004, seeking nearly $57 million in damages. A federal court in 2006 ruled that DOE was in breach of contract with Energy Northwest since January 1998.
That was when DOE agreed to open a national repository at Yucca Mountain for used fuel from more than 100 nuclear energy facilities.
According to court documents, Energy Northwest's case is one of more than 60 such cases filed.
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims awarded Energy Northwest the full $57 million in February 2010. DOE appealed a portion of the claim.
In April, the appeals court ruled that the federal government was not required to pay $6 million in interest charges.
The appeals court also returned a portion of the lawsuit -- involving payments for plant modifications -- to the lower court, but Energy Northwest decided not to pursue that in order to speed up payment of the already awarded amount.
Nuclear Plants Deserve Their Repayment by DOE by Editorial Board, Tri-City Herald, 7/22/11
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