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Nuclear Energy Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 10, 2004
Contact: media@nei.org, 202.739.8000 or 703.644.8805 (after hours and weekends)

Nuclear Energy Institute Calls Exelon-DOJ Used Fuel Settlement ‘Hugely Significant’

WASHINGTON—Exelon Corp. and the U.S. Department of Justice announced today they have reached a settlement under which the government will reimburse Exelon for costs associated with storage of used nuclear fuel at the company’s nuclear power stations pending the Department of Energy’s fulfillment of its contractual obligations to accept used nuclear fuel. The following is a statement by Nuclear Energy Institute Executive Vice President Angie Howard regarding the settlement:

“The settlement agreement announced today is hugely significant and a direct result of the federal government’s failure to meet its statutory and contractual obligations to begin disposing of used nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants. The agreement means that taxpayers in every state – including those who do not receive electricity supplies from nuclear power plants – are now officially paying the cost of the federal government’s failure to meet its obligations. The government’s willingness to enter into this settlement is the fair thing to do since it hasn’t met its obligation to Exelon and the company’s customers.

”Dozens of the nuclear power plants that supply electricity to one of every five U.S. homes and businesses are running out of storage capacity in their on-site used fuel pools because of the government’s failure to meet its obligation. Congress has it within its power to minimize the impact of the government’s delay and ease this mounting burden on taxpayers. Two notable steps that Congress can take are: one, to endorse the Environmental Protection Agency’s 10,000-year radiation compliance standard for the planned Yucca Mountain repository in the Nevada desert; and two, to enact funding reforms assuring that monies put into the nuclear waste trust fund by ratepayers are available in sufficient amounts so that, along with congressional oversight, the Yucca Mountain repository will be built in an efficient and safe way.

“The nuclear energy industry and our customers, the users of electricity produced at nuclear power plants, have met our obligation. Since 1983, including interest, we have paid roughly $24 billion into the federal Nuclear Waste Fund for development of an underground repository for used nuclear fuel. This settlement is the result of the government’s failure to meet its obligation. From this day forward, until the Yucca Mountain repository is open a minimum of six years from now, the meter will continue to run, costs will climb, and the burden of government inaction will continue to be borne by taxpayers from coast to coast.”
 

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The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org.



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