Nuclear-Waste Disposal a Growing Fiscal Problem - WSJ.com
Quand le Wall Street Journal se remnd compte du coût des déchets nucléaires, et de l’inaction qui entoure cette question...
The fee, which ultimately comes from nuclear-electricity customers as a surcharge of 1/10th of a cent per kilowatt hour, now amounts to about $750 million a year. Counting past expenditures and interest earned, the fund’s balance is about $25 billion.
“It sounds like there’s a piggy bank and there’s all this money that is available for a future [nuclear] repository,” said Richard Stewart, a New York University law professor and co-author of a book on nuclear waste policy. “But there isn’t. Congress has spent it on other things.” The $25 billion, he and others say, amounts to little more than a federal IOU that will need to be repaid.
A group of state regulators and the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade organization, are suing the Department of Energy, seeking to suspend collection of the annual fees utilities pay into the waste fund. “There’s no sense paying a fee if you’re not getting a program for it,” said NEI’s Steven Kraft.
Beyond disposal costs, taxpayers are also potentially liable for damages suffered by the public from a nuclear accident, including those stemming from the spent fuel stored at commercial power plant sites. Under a 1950s law, plant operators currently must carry $375 million of liability insurance for each reactor, after which an industry insurance plan would take over, covering damages up to $12 billion. Any personal injury or property damages in excess of that would be borne by the federal government.