U.S. to pay $100mn in nuclear fuel storage settlement

The U.S. government will pay Northern States Power Co., a unit of Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL), $100 million to settle a lawsuit over nuclear spent fuel storage costs.

The $100 million is reimbursement for 10 years of storage costs incurred by the utility and its customers from 1998 to 2008. In addition, Xcel settled another lawsuit over storage costs from 2009 through 2013. Those costs are uncertain, but the company estimates they will total about $100 million more. Federal reimbursement from that settlement will be paid over the next four years.

Xcel sued the government in 1998 over 1,300 tons of radioactive waste at its Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear power plants in Minnesota. The fuel was supposed to be sent to the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada, but the facility’s opening was delayed and then canceled in 2009. However, utilities continued to make payments to the Nuclear Waste Fund that was created in 1983 to pay for the Yucca project.

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