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Buying Time: Franchising Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Cleanup

Douglas R. Hale

Year: 1997
Volume: Volume18
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol18-No2-4
View Abstract

This paper describes a private franchise approach to long-term custodial care, monitoring and eventual cleanup of hazardous and nuclear waste sites. The franchise concept could be applied to Superfund sites, decommissioning commercial reactors and safeguarding their wastes and to Department of Energy sites. Privatization would reduce costs by enforcing efficient operations and capital investments during the containment period, by providing incentives for successful innovation and by sustaining containment until the cleanup's net benefits exceed its costs. The franchise system would also permit local governments and citizens to demand and pay for more risk reduction than provided by the federal government. In principle, they would have the option of taking over site management. The major political drawback of the idea is that it requires society to be explicit about what it is willing to pay for now to protect current and future generations.

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