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Court Suspends Nuke Fee Collections

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Rail tunnel descending into the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository located in Nye County, Nevada, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. (photo: MAXIM KNIAZKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Rail tunnel descending into the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository located in Nye County, Nevada, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. (photo: MAXIM KNIAZKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has ordered the Energy Department to suspend collection of about $750 million a year in waste fees from operators of nuclear power plants.

In a ruling Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the Obama administration failed to provide a good reason why the money should continue to be collected.

Nuclear operators have paid more than $26 billion to help pay for long-term storage and disposal of nuclear waste from the nation’s 100 commercial nuclear reactors. The money has sat idle for decades amid disputes about how to dispose of the waste. The Obama administration has moved to close a nuclear dump planned at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.

The appeals court called a DOE analysis of the fee collection “absolutely useless.”

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