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Entergy Sues U.S. for Failure to Dispose of Nuclear Waste

Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) -- An Entergy Corp. unit sued the U.S. for $100 million alleging the government breached a contract for disposal of nuclear waste at two plants in Michigan.

Entergy Nuclear Palisades LLC, owner of the Palisades Nuclear Plant and the Big Rock Point plant, alleged yesterday that the Energy Department collected fees under a 1983 contract without ever starting to dispose of the radioactive material. The suit is in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington.

Entergy and a previous owner of the shuttered Big Rock Point plant “have fully complied with all their fee payment obligations under the contract,” according to the complaint. “The government, however, has failed to perform its reciprocal obligation to dispose of spent nuclear fuel, and currently has no plan to meet these obligations.”

Entergy’s lawsuit is the latest legal challenge stemming from the federal government’s failure to create a central, long-term facility to store nuclear waste.

Most nuclear-plant owners continue to store spent nuclear fuel onsite despite contributing for decades into a fund meant to finance a central waste depository.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is freezing U.S. operating licenses for at least two years as it reassesses waste-storage risks and strategies in response to a June 8 order by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington.

Entergy Corp., based in New Orleans, is the second-largest owner of nuclear plants in the U.S.

Through June 30, Entergy and Consumers Energy Co., the former owner of Big Rock Point, have paid about $274 million into the fund under the contract, the company said.

Charles Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Entergy Nuclear Palisades LLC v. U.S., 12-cv-1641, U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Washington).

To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net; Julie Johnsson in Chicago at jjohnsson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net; Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net.

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