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NARUC Resolution Opposes Additional Nuclear Tax

July 25, 2013—The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners has gone on record to oppose any attempts to make U.S. nuclear utilities and their customers pay a third time for the decontamination and decommissioning of three closed DOE-owned uranium enrichment facilities.

NARUC’s Board of Directors passed the resolution July 24 at its summer meeting in Denver. It is the first time that the organization has weighed in on the issue. The resolution was championed by Commissioner Greg White of Michigan, the newly chosen chair of the Nuclear Issues-Waste Disposal Subcommittee of NARUC’s Electricity Committee.

The three uranium enrichment plants—at Oak Ridge, Tenn., Paducah, Ky., and Portsmouth, Ohio—were built by the federal government in the 1940s and 1950s for defense purposes and operated for about 25 years. From 1969 through 1992, the Energy Department and its predecessor agencies sold some of the plants’ enrichment services commercially under contracts that required utility customers to pay for future decommissioning and decontamination (D&D).

Although the D&D fees were collected, the government did not set the funds aside, and in the 1992 Energy Policy Act assessed utilities an annual fee of $150 million for 15 years, which was paid in the amount of $2.6 billion. The president’s 2014 budget attempted to levy another tax of $2.4 billion over 10 years on nuclear utility customers, which would have been the third time a fee for the same program was assessed.

NARUC’s resolution, one of several concluded under the broad objective of consumer protection, supports environmental cleanup of the sites but said U.S. nuclear utility customers “should not be singled out yet again” to pay for their decommissioning and decontamination.

The full text of the resolution is available on NARUC’s website.

Nuclear Energy Overview