The costs of closing nuclear power plants

by James P. Stucker

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This paper presents methods for estimating the full costs of closing nuclear power plants. It (1) reviews recent studies of the economic costs of closing the Indian Point and Zion nuclear generating facilities, (2) offers methods for synthesizing the total costs of such closures, and (3) identifies and discusses the uncertainties associated with the major cost drivers. Scenarios describing the distribution of costs among ratepayers, stockholders, bondholders, and taxpayers are then used to illustrate alternative viewpoints on net and total closure costs. A matrix framework for conceptualizing and displaying closure costs is developed and used to illustrate the inadequacies of the cost estimates developed for recent public-policy debates.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND's donors, the fees earned on client-funded research, and independent research and development (IR&D) funds provided by the Department of Defense.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.