Externalities of Nuclear Energy


Credit - awnisALAN

Credit – awnisALAN

I ran across this insightful comment to this post: http://theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/257481/why-power-density-matters#comment-80591

The comment is by: Robert Mitchell

The comment goes into great detail about the costs of insuring nuclear power plants that are left up to the taxpayer rather than, as it should be, to the utilities that utilized Nuclear power.  This is just another example of how the market is not a free, fair and transparent market.  See more on externalities Here.

In case you cannot find it using the link above you can see the text of it below.

Nuclear Externalities:

Each nuclear facility is only required to have $375 million in liability coverage.  If an accident occurs that causes more damage than that, each of the approximately 104 (I’m not sure about that number with a couple of plants being shuttered), plants being required to pony up about $111.9 million each to cover the excess damage.

If more than 15% of this pool is used, then the matter goes to federal court to prioritize payments.  If the damages go beyond this pool’s ability to pay and not become insolvent, then it goes back to Congress and we the tax payer’s will be on the hook.

Also, the insurance isn’t comprehensive in that waste, either stored or in transit isn’t always covered, nor is damage to the plant itself (which in theory will have been paid for by the rate payers) In addition, claims haven’t always been dealt with quickly.  Many of those affected by Three Mile Island had to sue to be made whole and some of these suits weren’t completely settled until as late as 2003!  http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/funds-fs.html

There are also other issues to consider in regards to this “insurance”.  One that hits close to home (approximately 11 miles from my own home) is that the insurance coverage is only based upon a 10 mile evacuation zone.  Which considering that the US government itself recommended a 50 mile evacuation zone for the recent fukushima disaster, doesn’t make me feel all that comfortable!  The fact that Japan itself (even after raising it’s allowable radioactive exposure limit to 20 times what the US allows) declared areas within 12 miles to be inhabitable to humans, kind of worries me a bit??? (and that doesn’t count the 80 square miles northwest of the plant and beyond the 12 mile permanant exclusion zone).

So, even after raising it’s “acceptable” limit there is still an area of approximately 4500 square miles (about the same size as the state of Connecticut) that exceeds this limit.  How would you like to try and sell your home with THAT feature?

But even if you say, “Screw you” to all of those people who live outside of the excusion zones, just the value of the land, businesses, and homes of those inside of the excusion zones has a estimated value of between 250 billion and 500 billion dollars…far exceeding even the 13 billion dollars of liability coverage that US plants now have.

BUT!!! It doesn’t stop there!  40 miles of fisheries off of the Fukushima coast was forced closed and an untold amount of sea life was contaminated and I doubt if anybody cuts those poor creatures a check!

Add that to the misery of over 159,000 people who were evicted from the excusion zones…

WAIT!  There’s More!  If you order your nuclear power plant today, we’ll include an extra 200 miles of contamination of food stuffs and water!  And if you act now, we’ll even throw in biomagnefication so that the benefits of nuclear power can be enjoyed on up the food chain!

The sad thing is that I could go on…and on and on….which goes to show that you are wrong; the nuclear industry is not properly insured even with the backing of the US government.

Nuclear Power’s negative learning curve discussed HERE

Article by American Nuclear Insurers

This entry was posted in dangers of the old paradigm, Markets and Subsidies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Externalities of Nuclear Energy

  1. Pingback: Externalities | The Handleman Post

  2. BasM says:

    Realize that 97% of all radiation went towards the ocean at Fukushima.
    What if the winds drop that 97% on land as with most Nuclear Power Plants?
    It increases the amount of radiation dispersed over the land by a factor 30!


  3. Bas says:

    Estimation of the liability subsidy granted to the av. nuclear power plant:
    In 12,000 reactor years for electricity generation, 4 reactors caused major damage (3x Fukushima, 1x Chernobyl). Total damage 2x ~$600billion = $1.2trillion.
    That is $100million/reactor year. Av. 1GW reactor produces ~7,884GWh/yr (cap.factor 90%)
    So an insurance premium of $12.7/MWh for accident liability. Reactor owner takes small part.
    That implies a subsidy of $12/MWh for accident liability alone. Which is substantial taking whole sale electricity prices of $45/MWh.
    Add to that waste liability subsidy, etc.


    • Enoch1680 says:

      Bas, you should write this up in more detail with reverences and submit to several of the major energy Blogs such as TEC, cleantechnica etc. Alternatively, if you want to tune it up and add some references I would be happy to post it on my blog with attribution to you.



      • Bas says:

        I’ll do, but it will take some time as I’m also busy to develop a WEB-site with such and similar info. Such as showing the lies regarding a threshold for radiation damage that pro-nuclear spread.

        TEC censors all comments from me that contain such info if it is well underpinned (e.g. with scientific studies). Especially comments with references to scientific publications regarding nuclear radiation. So I doubt that they will accept a real post.

        Not sure whether German Siemens know about that censorship of TEC.
        German public won’t be happy when they learn that Siemens supports such site.


      • Enoch1680 says:

        Look forward to it. Btw, did you see that clean technical picked me up on dec 11?


      • Bas says:

        Thanks for your notice. Just found it. Looks nice.
        Did you see that US company that developed a machine that can produce on–site towers.
        That will allow for much higher and wider towers:

        Seems to me that with the coming superconducting magnets, the size of the nacelle is also no longer a limit for wind turbines >20MW.

        So then only the size of the blades and may be the speed of the blade tips are the limits for >20MW wind turbines.
        A good study about the possibility / issues of >20MW wind turbines would be interesting.

        I dropped a complaint about TEC’s pro-nuclear censorship and got a small discussion with Jesse Jenkins. He wrote that they would censor Rod Adams posts which depart from LNT too.
        I think they need a stronger push.
        Found other commenter with similar problems.
        As their sponsor Siemens left nuclear (they loose many consumers in Germany if they stay nuclear), involvement of Siemens may deliver the right push.
        May be you know a good entrance at Siemens Energy?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s