Connecticut electric ratepayers will save $1 a month under nuclear waste settlement agreement

Connecticut’s electric customers will be reimbursed $75 million over the next three years, according to a distribution plan that was approved Wednesday for funds from a successful lawsuit against the federal government for its failure to develop a permanent storage facility for spent fuel from nuclear power plants.

 The average ratepayer will see about $1 a month reduction to their bills, according to Dennis Schain, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

 The owners of Connecticut Yankee and two other closed nuclear plants in New England filed an application with federal regulators that outlines how the funds will be distributed to the plant operators to cover costs they incurred for storing nuclear waste on site longer than was anticipated, Arthur House, chairman of Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, and the state’s Consumer Counsel, Elin Swanson Katz, announced Wednesday.

 The utility company consortium — which includes United Illuminating and Connecticut Light & Power in Connecticut — that operated nuclear power plants in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine, successfully sued the federal Department of Energy for failing to meet contract requirements under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. The companies had argued that the Act required the federal government — beginning in 1998 — to remove and store spent fuel and other high-level nuclear waste in a permanent and secure repository.

 Following a decision in May 2012, the companies were awarded damages for the extra costs for storing nuclear waste beyond 1998. The owners also successfully proposed that the federal government — instead of ratepayers — fund the two years remaining on Connecticut Yankee decommissioning costs.

 Connecticut Yankee in Haddam was awarded $39.7 million in Phase I of the litigation awards, while Maine Yankee in Wiscasset was awarded $81.7 million and Yankee Atomic in Massachusetts was awarded $38.3 million. The money will be returned to the ratepayers of each state after taxes and other costs are deducted.

 Connecticut Yankee, which operated in the Haddam Neck section of Haddam, ceased operations in 1996. Decontamination and dismantlement were completed in 2007, but the spent fuel it generated over nearly 30 years of operation remains stored on-site in concrete and steel storage canisters. Full decommissioning, including corporate dissolution, cannot be completed until DOE takes control of the waste.

Connecticut's electric customers will be reimbursed $75 million over the next three years, according to a distribution plan that was approved Wednesday for funds from a successful suit against the federal government for its failure to develop a permanent storage facility for spent fuel from nuclear power plants.

The average ratepayer will see about $1 a month reduction their bills, according to Dennis Schain, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The owners of Connecticut Yankee and two other closed nuclear plants in New England filed an application with federal regulators that outlines how the funds will be distributed to the plant operators to cover costs they incurred for storing nuclear waste on site longer than was anticipated, Arthur House, chairman of Connecticut's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, and the state's Consumer Counsel, Elin Swanson Katz, announced Wednesday.

The utility company consortium — which includes United Illuminating and Connecticut Light & Power in Connecticut — that operated nuclear power plants in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine, successfully sued the federal Department of Energy for failing to meet contract requirements under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. The companies had argued that the Act required the federal government — beginning in 1998 — to remove and store spent fuel and other high-level nuclear waste in a permanent and secure repository.

"For too many years, everyone who pays an electric bill in Connecticut was covering the cost of the federal government's inability to address the issue of spent fuel storage," House said in a press release issued Wednesday. "We all had to pay the tab for storing the fuel on site at Connecticut Yankee — but thankfully this is coming to an end. This case may also spark much needed action to develop a national storage facility for spent fuel and put an end to the practice of keeping it on site at nuclear power plants."

Following a decision in May 2012, the companies were awarded damages for the extra costs for storing nuclear waste beyond 1998. The owners also successfully proposed that the federal government — instead of ratepayers — fund the two years remaining on Connecticut Yankee decommissioning costs. It is estimated that the distribution of the federal reimbursement to Connecticut ratepayers and the elimination of the monthly decommissioning charge will have a rate impact of approximately $75 million over the next three years.

Connecticut Yankee in Haddam was awarded $39.7 million in Phase I of the litigation awards, while Maine Yankee in Wiscasset was awarded $81.7 million and Yankee Atomic in Massachusetts was awarded $38.3 million. The money will be returned to the ratepayers of each state after taxes and other costs are deducted.

Connecticut Yankee, which operated in the Haddam Neck section of Haddam, ceased operations in 1996. Decontamination and dismantlement were completed in 2007, but the spent fuel it generated over nearly 30 years of operation remains stored on site in concrete and steel storage canisters. Full decommissioning, including corporate dissolution, cannot be completed until DOE takes control of the waste.

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