Comments on the possibility of decoupling decisions on the licensing of nuclear power plants from decisions on nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities. The author suggests that amended legislation should make it feasible to license new nuclear power plants while deferring a decision on the commercial reprocessing of light water reactor fuel. To link decisions on electricity supply to decisions on commercial reprocessing would prevent U.S. antiproliferation policies from having a chance in the international arena. Halting the export of reprocessing facilities would prevent one pathway for the acquisition of nuclear explosives through separation of plutonium in spent fuel, and would promote prospects for regional arms control agreements. Efforts are under way to block nuclear fuel pathways to weapons acquisition; and there is no reason to link these efforts with decisions to license or not to license nuclear-fission power plants in California.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.
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.