GAO Finds Shortage of Money for Closing Atomic Reactors

Nearly half of the nuclear-reactor owners in the U.S. are not setting aside sufficient money to decommission the plants when they are shuttered, according to a report by the General Accounting Office. As a result, 42 plants might not have enough money to be safely shut down. “While happily pocketing their profits today, many plant owners are shirking their duty to save for tomorrow,” leaving taxpayers potentially holding the bag for billions of dollars, said Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass), who requested the report. The GAO also found that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was failing to carefully track the money set aside for decommissioning and cleanup, but the NRC denied the accusations against both itself and the industry at large.