Nuclear waste, public information and residential property values Page: 4 of 26
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10-30-1995 3:55PM FROM
To test this hypothesis, we examine a sample of properties which were sold within a 25
mile radius of the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant, which is located approximately 25 miles
southeast of downtown Sacramento, CA. The Rancho Seco plant which began operation in
April 1975, has been idle since June 7, 1989 when the publicly-owned plant was shutdown as a
result of the high cost of operating the plant. The plant has stored its high-level radioactive waste
in pools of water. In October 1991, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), which
owns the plant, applied for a license to construct and operate a dry storage facility as an
additional cost saving measure. SMUD officials estimate that they can reduce the cost of storage
by nearly $1,000,000 per year if the waste can be placed in dry storage. Although the placement
of high-level nuclear waste in dry storage at Rancho Seco does not increase the amount of waste
stored at the site, it may be expected to affect the local property market for a number of reasons.
First, the application process to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission draws public attention to the
fact that high level waste remains at the plant, even though the plant is not operational. Second,
the increased media coverage may serve to inform the public about the risks associated with the
existence of nuclear waste, or about the risks of transferring the waste from wet storage. Third,
some residents may view dry storage to be more or less hazardous than wet storage in pools.
Finally, critics of dry storage have argued that it will open the door to the creation of defacto
permanent waste storage facilities at individual utility sites should DOE fail to successfully site a
permanent repository in Nevada or temporary facilities elsewhere. In a review of the literature on
residential price effects of nuclear power plants, Fox, Mayo, Hansen and Quindry (1985)
conclude that the siting of a temporary waste storage facility in Tennessee is more likely to be
capitalized into residential properties if there is an increase in the public's knowledge or
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Clark, E.E. & Allison, T. Nuclear waste, public information and residential property values, article, October 10, 1995; Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc669938/m1/4/: accessed November 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.