For more than 30 years, Connecticut Yankee stored its used nuclear fuel
assemblies in the reactor's spent fuel pool located on the plant site. The
fuel will be stored at the site until the Department of Energy (DOE) meets
its legal obligation to remove it.
After an extensive analyses and comparison of fuel pool and dry cask
storage options, CY chose the dry cask option for storing its 1019 spent
The fuel storage facility site, selected from eight carefully researched
areas, is located on CY's property about three-quarters of a mile from the
former reactor site. The secluded location of the dry fuel Independent
Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) is tucked in a slight valley
between natural ridgelines and is out of sight of nearby rivers. The
NAC-MPC fuel storage and transport canister system chosen by CY is licensed
by the NRC for both storage and transportation.
Construction of the reinforced concrete storage pad and vertical
concrete and steel storage casks that hold the fuel was completed in 2002.
Transferring the fuel from the wet spent fuel pool to dry
storage/transportation canisters began in the first quarter of 2004 and was
completed March 30, 2005 (shown below).
There are 43 dry storage casks on the 70 by 228-foot, two-foot-thick
concrete pad. Forty of the casks contain spent fuel assemblies and three
store sections of the reactor vessel internals that is classified as high
level radioactive waste (Greater Than Class-C waste). Each concrete cask
has a three and a half-inch steel liner surrounded by 21 inches of
reinforced concrete. Each storage cask, when loaded with the
storage/transportation canister, weighs 126 tons. The entire dry storage
process -- procuring materials, fabricating the fuel containers,
constructing the storage facility, and transferring the fuel -- took
approximately three years to complete.
Under a contract that the DOE signed with all nuclear plant owners under
the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), the DOE was to have a disposal
facility open and receiving spent fuel by January 31, 1998. To date, the
DOE has not constructed a disposal facility, nor has it removed any spent
fuel or GTCC waste from the site, and it is uncertain when it will. In the
meantime, it is CY’s responsibility as a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(NRC) licensee to store the spent nuclear fuel in accordance with NRC regulations.
Since 1998 Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company, Connecticut Yankee
Atomic Power Company, and Yankee Atomic Electric Company have been in
litigation with the DOE seeking monetary damages for the DOE's partial
breach of its contractual obligations to begin removing spent nuclear fuel
and Greater than Class C waste from the three sites by the end of January
1998. At the conclusion of the first round of damage (Phase I) cases and
all appeals in early 2013, the three companies received payment of
approximately $160 million in court awarded damages from the Federal
Government for the years through 2001 for Connecticut Yankee and Yankee
Atomic and through 2002 for Maine Yankee.
In November 2013, as a result of the Phase II litigation filed in
2007, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge James F. Merow awarded the three
companies approximately $235.4 million in damages for the years 2002/3-2008
resulting from DOE’s continuing failure to remove the spent nuclear fuel
and Greater than Class C waste from the sites. The Federal
Government decided not to appeal Judge Merow’s ruling and the Phase II
awards were paid by the U.S. Treasury to the three companies in the spring
of 2014. The funds have been disbursed consistent with the provisions of a
2013 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order. The FERC approved a
filing following the award of the Phase I damages funds that accepted an
agreement reached between the three companies and the state utility
regulators in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts that have historically
intervened in the companies’ FERC rate cases. That agreement detailed an
approach for applying the Phase I damages proceeds and future damages
awards that best serves the interests of the ratepayers in their
In August 2013 the three Yankee companies filed a third round of
litigation in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims for continuing damages for
the years 2009-2012. The trial took place in Washington, DC June
30-July 1, 2015. Initial post-trial briefing concluded on October 28, 2015.
On November 17, 2015 Judge Merow asked the parties to file additional
post-trial briefings which are scheduled to be completed by February
16, 2016. Oral argument on the additional briefings is scheduled for
February 19, 2016. Unless additional briefing is requested, the case will
be ready for decision by Judge Merow following the oral argument. The
longer the federal government delays in fulfilling its contractual
obligations, the longer the companies' damages will continue.
Please go to the Document Room to read the court
decisions and company statements that include further background
information regarding the ongoing litigation.