New nuclear power plants aren’t cheap. Neither is storing their waste. E&E News ($ub. req’d) reports on at Yucca Mountain:

DOE has spent $13.5 billion since 1983, and figures to spend $54.8 billion on construction, operation and decommissioning of the repository; $19.5 billion for transporting the waste — including building the canisters for holding waste; and $8.4 billion for other program activities.

The report notes that the expenses were based on a repository opening date of 2017 — a best possible opening date that Sproat has already said is no longer possible due to budget constraints, which have pushed it to 2020. The lifecycle estimate also does not include the at least $11 billion in liability expenses DOE expects for breaking its contract with utilities to begin taking away the spent nuclear fuel in 1998 …

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Another possible cost increase could come from the more than 30 planned new nuclear reactors, which were not included in the estimate. Sproat said trying to estimate costs for waste from the new reactors would be speculative and would no longer provide “an apples to apples” comparison with the 2001 report …

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Click here [PDF] to view the lifecycle estimate report.

But don’t worry America. I doubt Yucca Mountain will be opening up even in 2020. You can rest assured that nuclear plants will be storing their own waste for as far as the eye can see.

This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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