Expert to NRC: Hidden costs of reactor waste storage & disposal make nuclear power less attractive than wind, solar, efficiency
On Thurs., Dec. 19th at 11 AM Eastern, Diane Curran and Mark Cooper (photo, left), attorney and expert witness, respectively, representing a coalition of dozens of environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, will hold a press conference entitled: EXPERT TO TELL NRC THAT HIDDEN COSTS OF REACTOR WASTE STORAGE & DISPOSAL MAKES NUCLEAR POWER LESS ATTRACTIVE THAN WIND, SOLAR, AND MORE ENERGY EFFICIENCY; Do High Costs of Nuclear Now Make Licensing and Re-Licensing Indefensible in Terms of the Economics?; Comments to NRC From Economist Mark Cooper State Federal Agency Must Consider Full Cost of Nuclear Waste Storage and Disposal. Cooper serves at the Vermont Law School. Curran serves at Harmon Curran Speilberg + Eisenberg LLP in Washington, D.C. See the Hastings Group's press advisory, with instructions on how to listen-in to the press conference, either live in real time, or to the audio recording afterwards.
The press release reports: In the NRC filing, Cooper states: “Are the economic costs of at-reactor nuclear waste storage and disposal in a permanent repository large enough to affect the economics of nuclear power and, therefore, should the Nuclear Regulatory Commission consider those costs in its nuclear licensing decisions? The answer is simple and clear–these costs are so large they must be considered. Conservatively estimating these costs, I put the total cost in the range of $210 to $350 billion, in real, undiscounted dollars. That is a figure that is certainly large enough to demand consideration by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”'
Cooper goes on to estimate that replacing dry cask storage across the country once per century, as is assumed by the NRC "Nuclear Waste Confidence" DGEIS -- would cost $100 billion per replacement.
Whereas the Nuclear Waste Fund, established by enactment of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as Amended, in 1983, has generated some $30 billion by charging a surcharge of one mill (one tenth of a cent) per kilowatt-hour of nuclear generated electricity on ratepayers' bills, those costs now appear to be shifting entirely onto federal taxpayers. In late 2013, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that DOE must urge Congress to end collection of the Nuclear Waste Fund fee, as no repository is currently under development.
However, any shortfall in the Nuclear Waste Fund would have already been foisted onto taxpayer shoulders. Several years ago, DOE estimated that the proposed (since wisely cancelled by the Obama administration) Yucca dump's price tag approached $100 billion. The Nuclear Waste Fund would only have raised around half that amount. The other half would have been foisted onto taxpayers anyways!