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Federal Court Orders DOE to Stop Collecting Fees for Nuclear Waste Disposal

By   /   November 21, 2013  /   Comments

ATLANTA, November 20, 2013— Commissioner Stan Wise, who has testified on nuclear waste disposal before Congress and before the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, agrees with National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) that the Court of Appeals’ decision is “great news for consumers of nuclear power,” who have paid more than $30 billion nationwide since 1983 for a permanent nuclear waste disposal site. Georgia ratepayers have paid over $1 billion into the Nuclear Waste Fund or around $30 million per year.

On November 19, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered the Department of Energy (DOE) to submit a proposal to Congress to change the Nuclear Waste Disposal fee to zero until DOE can comply with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 or until Congress enacts an alternative waste management plan.

Commissioner Wise wants to thank several of his fellow Commissioners from around the nation and others for their tireless efforts. This decision is the culmination of years of work starting in the 1990s when it became apparent that DOE would not make the 1998 deadline set forth in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 for a permanent waste repository:

· David Wright, Commissioner, South Carolina Public Service Commission and Past NARUC President, who testified before Congress for NARUC on ”Recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future” on June 7, 2012.
· Greg R. White, Commissioner, Michigan Public Service Commission and Chairman of the NARUC Subcommittee on Nuclear Issues, Waste Disposal
· David Boyd, Commissioner, Minnesota Public Utility Commission and Chairman of NARUC’s Committee on Electricity
· And special thanks to my fellow Georgia Public Service Commissioner, Lauren, “Bubba” McDonald, Jr., Vice-Chairman of NARUC’s Subcommittee on Nuclear Issues, Waste Disposal and member of the Executive Committee of the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition (NWSC).
· James Bradford Ramsay, General Counsel, who successfully represented NARUC where its request that the Department of Energy suspend collection of the Nuclear Waste Fund fees was granted.

Georgia currently has two nuclear power plants in operation, Plant Hatch in southeast Georgia and Plant Vogtle in east Georgia. The plants are owned jointly by Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, Municipal Electrical Authority of Georgia and the City of Dalton. Georgia Power is building two more units at Plant Vogtle that are expected to be in service around 2017. More information about Plant Vogtle construction can be found in Docket 29849.

State utility commissions in forty States served by nuclear-generated electricity have been involved with plans for nuclear waste disposal since the Nuclear Waste Policy Act was enacted in 1982. Utilities were required to enter into contracts with DOE for the payment of fees into the Nuclear Waste Fund to pay for the cost of disposal of used fuel beginning in 1998. 30 years later, the fee payments continue to be made. The reason for NARUC’s interest is that the fees paid by nuclear utilities to the Nuclear Waste Fund (NWF) are passed along to ratepayers through their electric bills.

NARUC is a quasi-governmental, nonprofit organization founded in 1889. Its membership includes State public utility commissions for all States and territories. NARUC’s mission is to serve the public interest by improving the quality and effectiveness of public utility regulation. Each State Commission has the obligation under State law to ensure the availability of reliable energy utility services and that such services are provided at rates and conditions that are just, reasonable and nondiscriminatory for all consumers.

Commission Wise is serving his fourth six–year term on the Georgia Public Service Commission. He was first elected in 1994 and re-elected in 2000, 2006 and 2012. See his full bio at:

http://www.psc.state.ga.us/content.aspx?c=/commissioners/stan-wise/

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