مشکل سوخت هسته ای استفاده شده: درس هایی برای راه حل های موقت تجزیه و تحلیل هزینه نسبی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23336||2001||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7552 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Energy Policy, Volume 29, Issue 15, December 2001, Pages 1379–1389
An acceptable long-term solution for used (spent) fuel from nuclear power reactors has evaded all countries engaged in the civilian nuclear fuel cycle. Furthermore, many countries are trying to develop interim storage solutions that address the shortage of storage in the spent fuel cooling pools at reactors. The United States has a particularly acute problem due to its adherence to an open fuel cycle and its large number of reactors. Two main options are available to address the spent fuel problem: dry storage on-site at reactors and centralized storage at a facility away from reactors. Key to deciding which option makes better policy sense is the comparative economics of the two options. This paper provides one of the few comprehensive comparisons of costs for the two alternatives and discusses implications for other schemes and possible alternative solutions to the spent fuel problem for the United States.
Forty years of nuclear power usage has produced no permanent solution to the management and disposal of back-end waste products. Even the short-term management of spent fuel from nuclear power reactors is debated: should it be stored on site or should it be stored at a centralized facility off-site? The United States may suffer more from this problem than other countries in that it has many more nuclear power plants than most other nations and thus more spent fuel, but it is not unique in having to deal with these problems. Japan, for instance, faces a storage space shortage at their reactors and as yet has no solution to the problem. Originally, they had planned to move spent fuel off site to a reprocessing plant — but that plant remains under construction while spent fuel builds up at local reactors. Thus, the problem of how to manage spent fuel in the interim, before a permanent solution is agreed upon, is an important issue for all countries that use nuclear power. The spent fuel storage situation in the United States is becoming increasingly urgent, and it is possible that some reactors may even be forced to shut down if this issue is not resolved. US nuclear reactors have produced over 40,000 metric tons (MT) of spent nuclear fuel, which currently resides on-site at reactors. By the end of the existing 103 currently licensed, operating reactors’ lifetimes, the total amount will likely be over 80,000 MT. Still more will be generated if reactor licenses are extended, as they are beginning to be now. None of these reactors has the capacity to store all the spent fuel they will produce over their lifetimes. To relieve the burden of spent fuel storage from cooling pools at individual nuclear reactors while they await the opening of a permanent repository, they will need some type of interim solution. One option is to store the spent fuel on site in dry casks, while an alternative option would be to create a centralized interim storage facility. The US Congress recently considered establishing a centralized storage facility near Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and at least two private facilities are under review for large-scale spent fuel storage. Spent fuel storage, therefore, will remain at the top of many agendas and as a result, it is important to understand the issues involved to make the best choices possible. One of the main debates over the best way to resolve the spent fuel problem in the short term is over the comparative cost of the options. Those who support a centralized interim storage site contend that a centralized facility for spent fuel would minimize at-reactor storage and, as a result, significantly reduce costs (Kraft, 1999). On the other hand, the transportation of spent fuel from power reactors to another location would entail additional costs not included in at-reactor storage. Why should these costs be borne now, instead of waiting until a permanent repository is actually available, thereby discounting the transport costs? The benefits of consolidated storage, moreover, may take decades to achieve. To settle this debate, a comparative analysis is required. Unfortunately, to date, neither Congress nor the Energy Department have completed a current detailed analysis of the costs of the at-reactor and centralized facility options. To address the spent fuel storage issue, this paper will provide such a cost comparison. To make effective spent fuel policy, policy-makers should be concerned with the question of whether centralized storage would be a cost-effective measure. Other questions, such as whether centralized storage of spent fuel is politically and technically feasible are arguably as important as the economic one, but they have been dealt with in other publications (see Macfarlane, 2001). Although the case presented in this paper specifically addresses the situation in the United States, this analysis will provide a template discussion that is applicable to the situations in other countries. The record has shown that nuclear waste issues, especially those in the United States, do not particularly lend themselves to easy solutions. For instance, currently there are no permanent operating repositories in the United States for the nation's low- or high-level wastes.1 Costs for the interim storage of spent fuel will run into the billions of dollars. The significance of this issue can be measured by the level of frustration that already exists in the US Congress over the costs of developing a permanent nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. To avoid wasting huge sums of the taxpayers’ money, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the costs involved in the interim storage of spent fuel before proceeding with any particular policy recommendation. The discussion in this paper should clarify the costs to be paid and will suggest alternative solutions to the spent fuel problem.