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Chapter 7 - The Cost of Decommissioning U.S. Reactors: Estimates and Experience

Decommissioning is in its infancy, but our cost experience includes several dozen small, experimental reactors plus the 72 MWe Shippingport reactor. Decommissioning is only beginning at large reactors, but the insights already accumulated allow some use of this experience in future estimates. In this chapter, Gene Heinze Fry compares generic cost estimates plus the data for a total of 21 closed U.S. reactors. Despite the common assumption about the efficiencies that will come with more decommissioning experience, Fry finds a complete lack of scale economies. This could have implications for rates of collection, sufficiency of accumulated funds, and equity issues tied to future generations.

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Energy Specializations: Nuclear Power – Markets and Prices; Nuclear Power – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes: D24: Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity, C51: Model Construction and Estimation, Q41: Energy: Demand and Supply; Prices, Q40: Energy: General

Keywords: U.S. reactors, Nuclear decommissioning costs, Shippingport reactor

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-NoSI-7

Published in Volume 12, Special Issue of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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