For the past 25 years the U.S. has burned through $10.4 billion looking for a home for nuclear waste. We thought we had one in Yucca Mountain, but popular, political and scientific support for that location has crumbled.
In Obama’s budget he slashed the funding for the mountain to zero. And now there’s no plan for nuclear waste. In addition to the headache of figuring out what to do with the waste, if the measure is approved, the government should prepare itself for a bunch of lawsuits:
NY Times: Lawyers are predicting tens of billions of dollars in damage suits from utilities that must pay to store their wastes instead of having the government bury them, with the figure rising by about a half-billion dollars for each year of additional delay.
The courts have already awarded the companies about $1 billion, because the government signed contracts obligating it to begin taking the waste in 1998, but seems unlikely to do so for years. The nuclear industry says it may demand the return of the $22 billion that it has paid to the Energy Department to establish a repository, but that the government has not yet spent.
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