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Friday
May222015

UCS: "Why Is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Undervaluing American Lives?"

In a Huff Post Green blog post, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) senior writer Elliot Negin has asked why the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) "Value of a Statistical Life" (VSL) is "two to three times lower than other agencies' calculations."

Negin quotes the economist credited with developing the VSL concept in the first place, in 1982, who confirmed that NRC's VSL -- of $3 million -- hasn't been indexed to inflation, or otherwise updated, in 33 years.

Negin reports:

"If the NRC increased that value to what other federal agencies use -- and made other long-overdue changes to the way it calculates the benefits of regulations -- it would have a major impact on nuclear plant license renewals and new reactor approvals," said Edwin Lyman, a physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Plant owners would have to add safety features that the NRC now considers to be too expensive because the agency lowballs the value of the lives that would be saved."