$96.2 Billion: Cost to Clean Existing Nuke Waste

The United States Department of Energy recently conducted a study that found the cost of cleaning up existing supplies of nuclear energy waste will cost $96.2 billion. The current plan to clean-up our nuclear waste is to dump it in Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. In their study, the Department of Energy assumed no new nuclear power plants will be built in the U.S. and that the Yucca Mountain plan will move forward.

There are two flaws in the Energy Department's study. First, President Bush and John McCain are pushing for the development of more nuclear power plants. In fact, McCain's energy plan proposes construction of 45 new nuclear power reactors by 2030. Second, the Yucca Mountain plan has been long delayed and very controversial. Barack Obama would like to examine alternatives to dumping in Yucca Mountain and is only open to very moderate expansion of nuclear reactors, if necessary.

Back in 2001, the Energy Department conducted a similar study and it found that the cost of cleaning up our nuclear waste by dumping it in Yucca Mountain would be $57.5 billion. As a result of this more recent study, they've had to revise their estimates up by $38.7 billion. The agency says $16 billion of that increase is due to inflation. The rest of the increase is due to additional, unforeseen nuclear waste that has resulted from allowing current reactors to operate longer than expected.

No comments:

Post a Comment