Energy Northwest files lawsuit to suspend fee

Energy Northwest, as a member of the Nuclear Energy Institute, has filed a lawsuit in federal court asking that a consumer fee for managing nuclear fuel be suspended.

It is one of 16 companies named with the Nuclear Energy Institute in the lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Energy Northwest operates a nuclear power plant near Richland.

The Department of Energy has been collecting one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour as a surcharge that consumers pay on their monthly electric bills for electricity produced at a nuclear plant. The money is intended to pay for managing used nuclear fuel.

The Nuclear Energy Institute has argued that the fee, which collects $750 million nationwide annually, should be suspended until DOE has defined and evaluated a nuclear fuel management program.

The fuel was planned to go to a national repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev., but President Obama has moved to terminate the repository.