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Federal Court Awards Conn. Nuclear Plant Owners via Connecticut Law Tribune

Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Co. et al. v. United States: A federal judge has awarded nearly $77 million to the owners of three decommissioned nuclear power plants in New England, including Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Co. in Haddam Neck, Connecticut, to reimburse the companies for the costs of storing spent nuclear fuel.
The decision is the third judgment against the U.S. government for failing to dispose of the nuclear waste from the plants.

Events that triggered the litigation date to 1996 when Connecticut Yankee was shut down because it was too costly to keep operating. Dangerous radiation had leaked from the plant in 1978 and again in 1989, contributing to the decision to close the plant.
But even after the plant closed, the meter kept running. Under a contract tied to the operation of the plant, the federal government was supposed to take possession of the spent nuclear fuel at the site starting in 1998, but never did. As a result, the plant’s owner paid more than $10 million a year to keep the materials secure.
The federal Department of Energy had attempted to build a repository to permanently store the waste in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, but public opposition scuttled the plans and left the New England plants with no other repository for spent fuel rods and other waste. The three plants, which were all decommissioned at around the same time, together sued the government for breach of contract. In August 2004, there was a seven-week trial on damages in federal court. Various appeals dragged the process out until about three years ago.

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