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Chapter 20 - A Cost/Benefit Perspective of Extended Unit Service as a Decommissioning Alternative

James G. Hewlett

Year: 1991
Volume: Volume 12
Number: Special Issue
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-NoSI-20
View Abstract

Some people consider life extension (and its cousin, license renewal) analternative to decommissioning. The reasons for the popularity of suchalternatives include presumed cost effectiveness, retention of scarce power plantsites, and the continued ability to pass on waste storage expenses as a cost ofservice. In this chapter, James Hewlett addresses nuclear power plant lifeextension- -which he calls NUPLEX--in its economic garb, starting with a look atthe common utility presumption that life extension of a nuclear plant will allowit to produce electricity at a lower rate than new coal generation. Thispresumption, he argues, may not be supportable by analysis. He concludes thatthe deferral of constructing new replacement capacity would result in costsavings only if both the level and escalation rate of the operating costs forthe refurbished unit fall substantially from 1986 levels. Therefore, it is unclearwhether the deferral of the construction of new capacity would result in the costsavings, although it definitely shifts the financial burden into the future.

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