"A federal appeals court [Friday] asked the Department of Energy to explain why it should be able to continue to collect fees for its nuclear waste fund despite the fact that there is no operating national repository."
"The move by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was not unexpected based on April's oral argument.
The court's decision to remand the case back to DOE, with a decision due within six months, falls short of what the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and other petitioners initially wanted. They had asked the court put an end to the payments altogether. It is expected there will be $28 billion in the fund by the end of this year.
In the ruling on behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel, Senior Judge Laurence Silberman concluded that although the court has the authority to suspend the fees, it instead chose first to ask DOE to revisit its 2010 determination that the fees could still be collected. The court could then potentially reconsider the issue at a later date."
Lawrence Hurley and Hannah Northey report for Greenwire June 1, 2012.