Parametric study of the total system life cycle cost of an alternate nuclear waste management strategy using deep boreholes
Author(s)Moulton, Taylor Allen
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
Richard K. Lester.
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The Department of Energy recently submitted a license application for the Yucca Mountain repository to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, yet even the most optimistic timetable projects that the repository will not now open until at least 2020. The Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management recently revised the official undiscounted total life cycle cost of the waste management system upward by $22B (2000$), an increase of nearly 40% over the previous estimate, published in 2001. In this thesis a waste management tool, named SNuFManager (Spent Nuclear Fuel Manager), has been developed which deterministically simulates the stocks and flows of spent fuel in the United States and estimates annual expenditures based on the system's behavior. The tool allows policy makers to quickly and cheaply estimate the economic consequences of various decision alternatives under an array of scenarios in order to make quantitatively informed decisions and identify ways to mitigate or reverse recent increases in life cycle costs. The results are expressed in 2000 dollars, enabling a convenient comparison with the government's 2001 total system life cycle cost analysis. For each year of delay beyond 2020 in opening the repository and transferring ownership of spent fuel to the federal government, the total waste management system life cycle cost is estimated to increase by another $330M (2000$). The model also estimates that switching from the current mined geologic repository approach to a deep borehole disposal strategy would reduce the undiscounted total system life cycle cost by $19.4B, or 32%.(cont.) Assuming a 10% discount rate, the net present cost of the deep borehole strategy is 18% less than that of the mined geologic repository approach. Finally, the model illustrates the economic benefits of opening a centralized interim storage facility of significant capacity as soon as possible. For example, if a 40,000 metric tonne facility, comparable in scale to the proposed Private Fuel Storage Facility in Utah, was opened by 2020, and the mined repository was opened in the same year, the total life cycle cost would be reduced by $1.5B relative to the case with no interim storage. If, moreover, the opening date of the mined geologic repository were delayed until 2040 or 2060, the savings provided by interim storage increase dramatically, to $4.9 and $8.1B, respectively. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the political and strategic consequences of several key policy choices.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering, 2008.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nuclear Science and Engineering.