For 28 years, electricity customers in Georgia have been paying into a federal fund to develop a site out West to permanently store spent fuel from nuclear plants here and elsewhere.
More than $1 billion later, the state's Public Service Commission said it's had enough.
Development of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada has been halted, perhaps for good, and so the commissioners unanimously passed a motion calling for Georgia ratepayers to stop contributing to the fund.
Further, they asked for Georgians' money back.
Not that that's likely to happen. In terms of both past payments and potential future payments into the fund, the PSC action is more symbolic than practical. Nonetheless, the commissioners hope Washington takes note and begins to develop a workable, long-term policy to handle nuclear waste, one where the money won't be wasted.
"All this time, and all this money's been poured into this bureaucratic rathole," said Commissioner Robert Baker Jr., who proposed the motion. "At least we're on the record."
President Barack Obama has proposed eliminating all funding for Yucca Mountain in 2011, and the Department of Energy intends to withdraw the facility's license application at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, putting its future in extreme doubt.
Georgians and other U.S. electricity customers have been contributing to Yucca through a surcharge based on their usage. The federal government has spent about $38 billion on Yucca's development.
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