Nuclear waste costs U.S. gov't millions

Feb. 17, 2008 at 1:05 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. taxpayers reportedly have already paid hundreds of millions of dollars to get rid of nuclear waste from more than 100 reactors that has yet to be disposed.

The federal government has already paid the utilities $342 million, a figure expected to balloon to $11 billion in the coming years, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The fees arose out of an agreement hammered out between the government and utilities in which the Department of Energy agreed in the early 1980s to dispose of the nuclear waste for a fee of a 10th of a cent per kilowatt-hour, the newspaper reported.

Edward Sproat III, director of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, said if the nuclear repository proposed for Yucca Mountain, in the Nevada desert, is able to accept waste in 2017, taxpayers will have given about $7 billion to the utilities.

If the Yucca Mountain site opens in 2020, the damages would come to about $11 billion, and for each year beyond that, about $500 million more, he said.

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