Comparative analysis of United States and French nuclear power plant siting and construction regulatory policies and their economic consequences
Author(s)Golay, Michael Warren.; Saragossi, Isi Isaac.; Willefert, Jean-Marc.
Despite the substantial commitments of time and money which are devoted to the nuclear power plant siting process, the effectiveness of the system in providing a balanced evaluation of the technical, environmental and public interest considerations is periodically questioned. Until now, all improvements in the siting process have introduced increased complexity and delays. In order to approach this problem from a new point of view, it is interesting to evaluate U.S. siting and licensing processes in contrast with corresponding foreign policies. This work compares the American and French policies. Initially, the economic structures, procedures and regulations in both countries that determine the siting policies and procedures for nuclear power plants are examined. Then, the results of a survey of American utilities' practices concerning their licensing histories and delays that have affected U.S. nuclear power reactors since 1965 are analyzed. It is found that although the French experience is more limited than the American one, French practices emphasize an attempt to shift consideration of major design issues in the early stages of the construction permit process, before major on-site construction commitments are made. Other important differences are that the French process is cooperative and flexible while the American process is adverserial, legalistic and rigid; and the French process allows for very little public participation or review of regulatory decisions while the American process allows relatively easy participation of public and non-federal agencies in the licensing process and has the possibility for review of regulatory decisions at several administrative and judicial levels. Power station construction and operation delays are common in the United States experience and rare in the French experience.
MIT Energy Laboratory
Nuclear power plants |x Location., Nuclear power plants |x Licenses |z France., Nuclear power plants |x Licenses |z United States.
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