The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the US taxpayers will owe $7 billion in damages for delays in opening the nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain (seen above) if the repository opens in 2017 -- the earliest date now possible -- and any further delays will raise the price $500 million per year.
Although it's not entirely clear from the story, apparently we (thanks to the federal government) have assumed financial obligations for permanent storage of nuclear waste, which turns into a tremendous taxpayer subsidy to the nuclear industry.
Why, when and how were these obligations assumed and how long do they last? The article says "the money would reimburse current and former nuclear plant operators who signed contracts under which the federal government agreed to begin accepting their wastes in 1998."
Why can't the feds terminate those obligations for waste created in the future, and place the financial burden where it belongs, on the industry creating the waste?
Photo Credit: www.whitehouse.gov