13 March 2007 -- Duke Energy Carolinas and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached a settlement resolving Duke Energy's used nuclear fuel lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The agreement provides for an initial payment to Duke Energy of approximately $56 million for certain storage costs incurred through July 31, 2005, with additional amounts reimbursed annually for future storage costs.
The lawsuit involves the federal government's long-delayed plans to open the Yucca Mountain Repository. In 1983, Duke Energy entered into a contract with the DOE, which provided for the removal of used fuel from nuclear power reactor sites beginning in 1998. Because the federal government did not begin used fuel removal in 1998, Duke Energy argued that it has incurred higher used fuel storage costs at the Duke Energy-operated Oconee, McGuire and Catawba nuclear stations. Under this settlement, the government will reimburse Duke Energy for qualifying storage costs from the U.S. Treasury's Judgment Fund.
Duke Energy said in a statement that the company will continue the safe and secure short-term storage of used fuel at these nuclear plant sites. But the utility will continue to push the government to open a long-term storage facility.