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US nuclear lobby budgets $13 million for Fukushima response: sources

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The Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade association for nuclear plantoperators and suppliers, has set aside about $13 million this year to coverthe costs of responding to Japan's Fukushima 1 accident, industry sourcessaid Friday.

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NEI told members about the funding plan for 2011 in an email Thursday,according to three industry sources. NEI will charge its members a $3 millionspecial assessment and reallocate about $10 million from other accounts,including a contingency fund and reserves, the sources said.

The budget and assessment were approved at a board of directors meetinglast week, the sources said.

NEI spokesman John Keeley declined to comment.

NEI had total expenses of $46.8 million in 2009, according to the mostrecent tax form publicly available from the US Internal Revenue Service.

NEI has about 350 members in 19 countries, including the 26 US utilitiesthat operate nuclear units, reactor vendors, engineering firms, serviceproviders, consulting companies, nuclear fuel companies and universities, itsaid on its website. The association provides technical and licensingassistance to the industry, lobbies on its behalf and coordinates policy andcommunications.

Following the start of the nuclear accident at Fukushima 1, also known asFukushima Daiichi, NEI gathered information about the event and communicatedto members and the public on an ongoing basis. The association staffedadditional shifts on evenings and weekends, NEI has said.

--William Freebairn, william_freebairn@platts.com