This post was originally published on the Public Notice: Bankrupting America Blog.
Nuclear waste, like the leftovers in your refrigerator, should be disposed of before its storage overflows. But unlike your leftovers, not disposing of nuclear waste properly has proved to be quite expensive. Washington has defaulted on its promise to transfer waste to repositories, and it is costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, power companies are estimated to receive $16.2 billion through 2020 as a result of lawsuits against the federal government for reneging on its promise to start storing waste in 1998.
More troubling, $25 billion in fees collected via an energy surcharge on consumers was emptied into a general fund and spent elsewhere, leaving no money allocated for disposal.
Even if the money was available, the “not in my backyard” mentality can derail plans, as $13.5 billion was spent developing Yucca Mountain in Nevada before construction was halted by the Obama Administration.
While The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future recently released a draft report detailing several steps to resolve the waste “impasse,” it remains to be seen whether this polarized Congress will act on any of its recommendations.
Taxpayers should not see billions of their dollars wasted due to Washington gridlock. But without a reasonable compromise, we may be left looking for an unscrupulous Sanitation Commissioner to cram our waste down a Springfield mineshaft.