U.S. Nuclear Decommissioning Funds Fall $43 Billion Short
Aging nuclear plants in the United States are about $43 billion short of the roughly $100 billion that will be needed to shut them down safely at the end of the operating lives, Bloomberg reports.
Out of 117 operating nuclear facilities, 82—including seven that are now in the process of closing—have shortfalls in the trust funds they set up to cover decommissioning costs, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission records.
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“Somebody’s got to pay for it,” said former NRC Chair Allison M. Macfarlane. “The money doesn’t come from magic.”
Arnsdorf writes that the U.S. nuclear industry “is feeling its age. Once touted as a source of electricity that would be ‘too cheap to meter,’ plants need expensive upgrades to protect them from terrorism and natural disasters. At the same time, they face growing competition from renewables and natural gas. While five new reactors are under construction, current economics give little incentive to build more. Looming is an unprecedented wave of closures.”