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NEI Welcomes Suspension of $750 Million Nuclear Waste Fee

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WASHINGTON, May 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Nuclear Energy Institute today issued the following statement from President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin Fertel in response to the U.S. Department of Energy halting the $750 million-per-year consumer surcharge to pay for used nuclear fuel management. This adjustment was prompted by a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (NARUC v DOE) ruling that DOE could not continue to collect the fee in light of the department's termination of the Yucca Mountain, Nev., repository program. The court decision prohibits future collection of the fee until DOE complies with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act or Congress enacts an alternative used fuel management plan. NEI was a co-petitioner in that case.

"Consumers of clean, reliable nuclear energy benefited today because of NEI's and NARUC's successful efforts to enforce the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. Because it failed to meet its obligation under that law, the federal government no longer can collect $750 million per year for the development, licensing and construction of a repository for high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

"The industry shares the appellate court's frustration with DOE's many years of inaction to develop a repository. Given that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act remains in effect, Congress should provide sufficient funds to the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to complete the licensing process for the Yucca Mountain repository. In addition, Congress and the administration should develop a sustainable program for long-term used nuclear fuel management.

"We urge policymakers to establish a new organization empowered with authority and funding to implement an effective and efficient nuclear waste management and disposal program. Such a program requires that the new management entity be given access to revenues from future Nuclear Waste Fund fees and the $30 billion-plus fund balance. The industry also believes a consolidated storage facility should be pursued while progress is made toward either licensing the Yucca Mountain repository or siting a new disposal facility."

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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 at www.nei.org.

CONTACT: Contact NEI's media relations staff at media@nei.org, 202.739.8000 during business hours or 703.644.8805 after hours and weekends.

Source:Nuclear Energy Institute