Risk and Responsibility Sharing in Nuclear Spent Fuel Management

Guillaume De Roo,

10-Jun

Guillaume De Roo, June 2010

With the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, the responsibility of American utilities in the long-term management of spent nuclear fuel was limited to the payment of a fee. This narrow involvement did not result in faster or safer development of a solution for commercial nuclear waste. In most other countries, the financial liability and practical involvement of utilities appear more extensive. This paper highlights how such differences in institutional frameworks affect risk sharing and economic incentives. It argues that a greater allocation of risk and responsibility to the utilities should reenter the debate over nuclear waste in the US.