The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission Essay

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission Essay

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A current policy proposal that rests upon a cost-benefit analysis is the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NCR) decision to extend the operating rites for certain nuclear reactors another twenty years. The duty of the NCR is to issue licenses for commercial power reactors to operate based upon environmental and safety reviews (www.NCR.gov). However, this is an issue because many people are concerned with the safety of nuclear energy. This NCR decision hinges upon a cost-benefit analysis because of the pros and cons the operating extension would provide towards future generations.
There are many possible issues that could arise from the extension of timeworn technology. The primary concern being that the components can no longer stand the test of time. As supported by multiple sources, including the NCR, “reactors were initially built on the basis of serving their original expected forty-year service life” (www.NCR.gov). In addition to this, the reactors that are in question of renewal were built during the late nineteen fifties and early nineteen sixties, so they are already twenty years past their intended timeframe. So would extending the use of these reactors another twenty plus years be good? Furthermore, the NCR also grants extensions of operating for time periods of twenty years at a time. This has already caused problems of concern as possible worries have happened during these twenty year gaps such as the, “radioactive leaks from pipes at its Vermont Yankee plant in January 2010” as reported by Entergy Corporation; and when “FirstEnergy Corporation found that corrosion nearly penetrated a steel reactor cap in its Davis-Besse nuclear station in Ohio in March 2002.” This begs the question, what other disasters ...


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... when comparing the costs to benefits of using nuclear energy, it is clear that Pareto ideal because someone could always be hurt. Additionally, the environmental impact towards future generations could be either extremely good if nothing catastrophic happens as nuclear energy is carbon free or the future ramifications could be bad if another Fukushima like disaster occurs.
Overall this application of cost-benefit analysis could be improved by finding the both the exact costs of storing nuclear material and the likelihood of a nuclear meltdown, as these facts could only aid decision-making. For example, if we knew that storing the hazardous material poses no threat to future inhabitants of earth or the likelihood of a catastrophe was near zero, the decision would be easy, but with too many unknown variables an educated decision should not be made in the near term.

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