"Sixteen utilities and a trade association sued the Energy Department on Monday to halt the government’s collection of nuclear waste disposal fees, arguing that the country no longer had a disposal plan after ruling out Yucca Mountain, Nev., as a repository.
The utilities, which filed the lawsuit in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, jointly pay about $750 million a year — amounting to a tenth of a cent per kilowatt hour — into the fund. It now stands at about $24 billion and earns about $1 billion annually in interest.
The money was supposed to pay for the development of the Yucca Mountain repository, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, but the Energy Department said last month that it was formally seeking to withdraw its application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate the site.
President Obama had promised while campaigning for office that he would kill the project, in large part at the urging of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, now the majority leader. But it was also far from clear that the site was technically suitable for waste disposal."
Matthew L. Wald reports for the New York Times April 5, 2010.