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Chapter 3 - Utilities and Decommissioning Costs: The Meeting of Technology and Society

Nuclear energy policy is impacted by several groups, including regulatory agencies, public interest organizations, private business, and academic research. As policy bends and changes, no group is affected more strongly than public utility companies. The principal reason for such sensitivity is that the utility companies, more than any of the other players in the decommissioning business, are the link between technology and society. This chapter presents the utility view of decommissioning within the context of PG&E's nuclear power stations at Diablo Canyon and Humboldt Bay. The discussion includes special utility problems, such as inherent uncertainties and the causes for over- and underestimating. Among the conclusions is that the overall discussion of decommissioning technology is developing outside the commercial marketplace and will likely lead to inefficiencies, and that the various social costs and ramifications of decommissioning need much more attention.

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Energy Specializations: Energy Modeling – Sectoral Energy Demand & Technology; Nuclear Power – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes:
Q55 - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General

Keywords: Electric utilities, Nuclear decommissioning, Technology, Energy policy, Diablo Canyon, Humboldt Bay

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-NoSI-3

Published in Volume 12, Special Issue of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.