Yankee Rowe Used Nuclear Fuel and
High Level Radioactive Waste
Safely Stored and Ready for Transport
Safe storage of the used fuel and GTCC waste at the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation facility in accordance with all applicable federal regulations is now the primary focus at the Yankee Rowe site until the U.S. government meets its statutory and contractual obligation to remove the material.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is legally responsible for permanently removing used nuclear fuel and high level radioactive waste from nuclear plant sites in the United States. They have failed to meet that obligation which was to have begun by the end of January 1998. Given the uncertainty about when the federal government will fulfill its commitment, used nuclear fuel and high level waste is likely to remain at the Yankee Rowe site for many years.
At the permanently shutdown Yankee Rowe nuclear plant in Western Massachusetts, the used fuel and high level radioactive waste known as Greater Than Class C Radioactive Waste (GTCC waste) is stored in 16 airtight, stainless steel shipping canisters placed inside steel-lined concrete casks. The fuel and GTCC waste will be stored on the Yankee Rowe site until it is removed by the DOE.
This storage system is a dual-purpose system licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that not only safely stores the fuel and GTCC waste in stainless steel canisters inside heavy steel-lined concrete structures, but also packages the fuel and GTCC waste for transport. The stainless steel fuel canisters are designed to be removed from the steel-lined concrete casks and placed inside a specially designed shipping container for transport likely by truck and rail.
Recovering Monetary Damages for Yankee Rowe Ratepayers
Since 1998 Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company, Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company, and Yankee Atomic Electric Company have been in litigation with the DOE seeking monetary damages for the DOE's partial breach of its contractual obligations to begin removing spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C waste from the three sites by the end of January 1998. At the conclusion of the first round of damage (Phase I) cases and all appeals in early 2013, the three companies received payment of approximately $160 million in court awarded damages from the Federal Government for the years through 2001 for Connecticut Yankee and Yankee Atomic and through 2002 for Maine Yankee.
In November 2013, as a result of the Phase II litigation filed in 2007, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge James F. Merow awarded the three companies approximately $235.4 million in damages for the years 2002/3-2008 resulting from DOE's continuing failure to remove the spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C waste from the sites. The Federal Government decided not to appeal Judge Merow's ruling and the Phase II awards were paid by the U.S. Treasury to the three companies in the spring of 2014. The funds have been disbursed consistent with the provisions of a 2013 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order. The FERC approved a filing following the award of the Phase I damages funds that accepted an agreement reached between the three companies and the state utility regulators in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts that have historically intervened in the companies' FERC rate cases. That agreement detailed an approach for applying the Phase I damages proceeds and future damages awards that best serves the interests of the ratepayers in their state.
In April 2016 as a result of the Phase III litigation filed in 2013, Judge Merow unsealed and released his decision awarding the three companies approximately $76.8 million in damages for the years 2009/2012 resulting from the DOE’s continuing failure to remove the spent nuclear fuel and Greater than Class C waste from the sites. The longer the federal government delays in fulfilling its contractual obligations, the longer the companies' damages will continue.
Please go to the Document Room to read the court decisions and company statements that include further background information regarding the ongoing litigation.