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Xcel customers to get part of settlement between govenment and utility over nuclear fuel storage

Electric customers in northwest Wisconsin will get part of a $100-million-dollar settlement in a utility's dispute with the federal government over the storage of spent nuclear fuel.

Xcel Energy had extra costs because the U.S. Energy Department did not remove spent fuel from two nuclear plants by a 1998 deadline. The utility says the government will pay for storage costs at the Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear plants through 2008, and will continue those payments through 2013. The money will be refunded to Xcel Energy customers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and the Dakotas.

The company will decide soon how to return the money, and ask state regulators for approvals. Xcel has about one-point-six million electric customers - and each will get about a $20-dollar benefit. Today's settlement closes two cases, including a federal lawsuit that Xcel won in 2007. It was still being appealed.