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Wash. congressmen discuss nuclear fuel storage

RICHLAND — U.S. Reps. Doc Hastings and Jay Inslee say they will fight to keep the federal government from abandoning a proposed nuclear waste repository in Nevada.

In a visit to the Northwest’s lone commercial nuclear plant, the congressmen said the Yucca Mountain repository 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas is vital to ridding Washington state of spent nuclear fuel and waste.

Energy Northwest, operator of Columbia Generating Station, has installed storage containers to safely hold its used nuclear fuel. But the utility recently won $56.9 million in damages from the Energy Department for failing to begin accepting its spent fuel at a national repository.

The Energy Department has filed notice of its intent to appeal that ruling.

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