WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Nuclear Energy Institute and 16 of its member companies have filed suit in federal court seeking suspension of the fee that consumers of electricity produced at nuclear energy facilities pay for the federal government’s used nuclear fuel management activities. The suit was filed March 8 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners also filed suit against the U.S. Department of Energy on Monday, seeking similar relief.
NEI is joined in the litigation by Florida Power & Light Co.; NextEra Energy Seabrook, LLC; NextEra Energy Duane Arnold, LLC; NextEra Energy Point Beach, LLC; Omaha Public Power District; PSEG Nuclear, LLC; Indiana Michigan Power Co.; Energy Northwest; PPL Susquehanna, LLC; Detroit Edison Co.; Nebraska Public Power District; Northern States Power Co.; Kansas City Power & Light Co.; Kansas Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.; Kansas Gas & Electric Co.; and Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp.
The lawsuit calls on the court to direct the U.S. Department of Energy to suspend collection of the one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour surcharge that consumers pay on their electric bills pending DOE’s compliance with provisions of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. The fee is paid to the Nuclear Waste Fund, held in the U.S. Treasury.
The industry contends that a review of the need to continue the fee performed by the Energy Department is inadequate and that the fee for the used fuel management program should be suspended.
The fee amounts to approximately $750 million in annual revenues for the Nuclear Waste Fund, which has a balance of more than $24 billion. Collection of the fee is not necessary given that the administration’s budget request for fiscal 2012 does not include any funding for the used nuclear fuel management program.