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Fri Apr 13, 2012, 02:01 PM

As Reactors Age, the Money to Close Them Lags

As Reactors Age, the Money to Close Them Lags
By MATTHEW L. WALD
Published: March 20, 2012

WASHINGTON ó The operators of 20 of the nationís aging nuclear reactors, including some whose licenses expire soon, have not saved nearly enough money for prompt and proper dismantling. If it turns out that they must close, the owners intend to let them sit like industrial relics for 20 to 60 years or even longer while interest accrues in the reactorsí retirement accounts.


Nuclear Regulatory Commission, via Associated Press
A rusted valve in a containment spraying system at the closed Indian Point 1 reactor in New York, which was shut in 1974. The valve was photographed in 2006.


Decommissioning a reactor is a painstaking and expensive process that involves taking down huge structures and transporting the radioactive materials to the few sites around the country that can bury them. The cost is projected at $400 million to $1 billion per reactor, which in some cases is more than what it cost to build the plants in the 1960s and í70s.

Mothballing the plants makes hundreds of acres of prime industrial land unavailable for decades and leaves open the possibility that radioactive contamination in the structures could spread. While the radioactivity levels decline over time, many communities worry about safe oversight.

Bills that once seemed far into the future may be coming due. The license for Vermont Yankee in Vernon, Vt., at 40 the nationís oldest reactor, expires on Wednesday, for example. And while the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has granted its owner, Entergy, a new 20-year permit, the State of Vermont is trying to close the plant.

In New York ...


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/science/earth/as-nuclear-reactors-age-funds-to-close-them-lag.html?_r=2

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Reply As Reactors Age, the Money to Close Them Lags (Original post)
kristopher Apr 2012 OP
msongs Apr 2012 #1
intaglio Apr 2012 #2
NickB79 Apr 2012 #3
FBaggins Apr 2012 #4
kristopher Apr 2012 #5
FBaggins Apr 2012 #6
kristopher Apr 2012 #7
madokie Apr 2012 #8

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 02:03 PM

1. jail time for top management of these companies and their boards of directors nt

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 02:30 PM

2. Teakettle technology

I do wonder if decommissioning fund might have been raided at some point - like workers retirement funds can be.

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 03:31 PM

3. I'm getting the feeling all of civilization is one giant Ponzi scheme

Kicking responsibilities down the road to the next generation, problems that keep getting bigger and bigger until the system can no longer be supported.

And we all know how Ponzi schemes end

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 04:42 PM

4. Lags what?

Doesn't the correct way to dismantle a plant involve defeuling it and then letting it sit while short/mid- half-life isotopes die out?

Of course, the title hides the fact that the vast bulk of reactors have more than enough in their retirement funds... and the ones that are supposedly "lagging" have more than enough if their expected extensions are granted.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 04:51 PM

5. Sure Baggins. The nuclear *industry* is unique and trustworthy.

Or perhaps you believe all profit-seeking corporations are out to do the right thing and could be trusted to ensure cleanup expenses 60 years in the future...

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Response to kristopher (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 04:55 PM

6. Oh... silly me.

I didn't realize that renewables firms were not corporations and had no profit motivation.

Just for the record... just because many of them have gone out of business and aren't making a profit doesn't mean that they didn't SEEK to make a profit.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 05:41 PM

7. Renewables don't have this burden - nuclear does.

As these reactors lose market share because of encroachment by no-fuel-cost renewables their ability and willingness to ensure for the future is sure to decline.

Another case of corporate welfare in the making.

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 05:42 PM

8. I don't think they ever intended to pay for the decommissioning and cleanup

If nuclear energy is so great then why are we even talking about decommissioning and cleaning up plus who is going to pay for it all.
We will be paying for all this you can bet your ass on that.

Oh yes thanks Kris for trying to raise awareness to the problems that using nuclear energy to boil water causes.

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