SMUD wins $53.1 million in legal fight over nuclear waste facility

Published: Friday, Jun. 20, 2014 - 3:50 pm

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District has been awarded $53.1 million as part of protracted litigation over the U.S. Department of Energy’s failure to provide the district with a nuclear waste storage facility.

In an opinion issued Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered the United States to immediately fork over the money as reimbursement for mitigation costs SMUD incurred in 1992 and 1993 due to the lack of a place to put its nuclear waste.

Under the terms of a 1983 contract, SMUD agreed to pay $40 million into a nuclear waste fund and, in return, the department promised to begin accepting and disposing of SMUD’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. To date, the department has yet to begin its end of the bargain.

SMUD has spent more than $110 million for building, operating, and maintaining an independent spent fuel storage installation, according to the ruling by a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit, based in Washington, D. C.

SMUD operated the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant throughout the 1980s, until it was shut down in response to a voter referendum in 1989.

Call The Bee’s Denny Walsh, (916) 321-1189.

Read more articles by Denny Walsh

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