The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has settled its lawsuit with the State of Idaho, clearing the way to resume shipments of radioactive waste from Navy ships to a DOE storage site in Idaho. DOE will pay Idaho $350 million and has promised to remove the Navy's spent fuel from the Idaho storage site by 2035 or face a $60,000-a-day penalty. According to Minnesota Department of Public Service Commissioner Kris Sanda, a member of the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition Executive Committee, the DOE has proven it can deal with centralized storage of spent fuel from military and foreign reactors. "Now we're waiting for DOE to deal with civilian nuclear waste," Sandia said. "America's electric consumers and taxpayers deserve at least the same amount of attention given to the military and foreign officials."
Reform of the nation's civilian nuclear waste program is underway, as comprehensive legislation introduced by Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) moves forward. Reform legislation sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton
(R-MI) has 183 cosponsors and should go to the House floor in the next few weeks. t
Lori A. Burkhart is an associate legal editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.