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Your Life Is Worth $6 Million Less in a Nuclear Meltdown via Bloomberg

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Cost-Benefit Analysis

The NRC’s lower value on American lives means that regulators have struggled to force nuclear operators to invest in safety infrastructure at plants under license. The U.S. is against a proposed European amendment to the Convention on Nuclear Safety forcing regulators to show how they’re improving safety and mitigating against accidents.

“The nuclear industry complained about the number of changes they had to make,” former NRC commissioner Victor Gilinsky said in an e-mail response to questions. Rules now require “a cost-benefit analysis to justify any NRC action,” he said.

A higher value placed on human lives, like the one the Department of Transportation uses, could change NRC risk assessments, which consider the consequences of a potential accident along with their probabilities, said Lyman. A Department of Transportation public-information official declined to comment on the disparity.

Industry Response

“The NRC does focus on the quantitative factors in reaching many of these decisions,” Chairman Allison Macfarlane said in Dec. 3 Senate testimony. “Some of the quantitative factors that are considered are themselves not necessarily fully quantitative like the price of — the cost of a human life.”

The U.S. Nuclear Energy Institute, the Washington-based advocacy group promoting more atomic power, has criticized regulators for imposing onerous requirements.

“Resources are being spent complying with requirements that have little or no safety benefit,” said NEI senior vice president Anthony Pietrangelo at the same Dec. 3 hearing. “If the NRC more accurately estimated the cost of its regulatory requirements it would find that many of its requirements do not pass a simple cost-benefit test.”

While U.S. nuclear operators have set up regional emergency-response centers and invested in safety equipment, their French counterparts are spending four times more, according to industry estimates.

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  1. Jimmy Neutron says

    Keep in mind your home is NOT insured for damage caused by a nuclear accident.



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