Energy & Environment

GOP lawmakers question nuclear commission’s cost calculus

{mosads}The legislators worry that “the NRC has a track record of producing cost estimates for its requirements on nuclear power reactors that can be egregiously off target from the actual costs of implementing the requirements.”

The letter was sent by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

They point to concerns about cost estimates of the agency’s November requirements for venting systems for some reactors, issued in response to the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant in Japan.

Accurate cost-benefit analyses are “particularly important when rules or requirements add marginal enhancements to existing nuclear power reactor safety — cases in which safety benefits may not be significant enough to warrant the additional costs,” the lawmakers write.

“As always, nuclear safety is of the utmost importance to us and the future success of the industry. However, the costs of regulatory burden are ultimately paid by consumers and businesses.”

Vitter and Upton ask the GAO to review the NRC’s process of estimating cost, including how it interacts with reactor owners seeking information.

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