Estimating Fuel Cycle Externalities: Analytical Methods and Issues, Report 2

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The activities that produce electric power typically range from extracting and transporting a fuel, to its conversion into electric power, and finally to the disposition of residual by-products. This chain of activities is called a fuel cycle. A fuel cycle has emissions and other effects that result in unintended consequences. When these consequences affect third parties (i.e., those other than the producers and consumers of the fuel-cycle activity) in a way that is not reflected in the price of electricity, they are termed ''hidden'' social costs or externalities. They are the economic value of environmental, health and any other impacts, ... continued below

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Medium: P; Size: 653 pages

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Barnthouse, L. W.; Cada, G. F.; Cheng, M.-D.; Easterly, C. E.; Kroodsma, R. L.; Lee, R. et al. July 1994.

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Description

The activities that produce electric power typically range from extracting and transporting a fuel, to its conversion into electric power, and finally to the disposition of residual by-products. This chain of activities is called a fuel cycle. A fuel cycle has emissions and other effects that result in unintended consequences. When these consequences affect third parties (i.e., those other than the producers and consumers of the fuel-cycle activity) in a way that is not reflected in the price of electricity, they are termed ''hidden'' social costs or externalities. They are the economic value of environmental, health and any other impacts, that the price of electricity does not reflect. How do you estimate the externalities of fuel cycles? Our previous report describes a methodological framework for doing so--called the damage function approach. This approach consists of five steps: (1) characterize the most important fuel cycle activities and their discharges, where importance is based on the expected magnitude of their externalities, (2) estimate the changes in pollutant concentrations or other effects of those activities, by modeling the dispersion and transformation of each pollutant, (3) calculate the impacts on ecosystems, human health, and any other resources of value (such as man-made structures), (4) translate the estimates of impacts into economic terms to estimate damages and benefits, and (5) assess the extent to which these damages and benefits are externalities, not reflected in the price of electricity. Each step requires a different set of equations, models and analysis. Analysts generally believe this to be the best approach for estimating externalities, but it has hardly been used! The reason is that it requires considerable analysis and calculation, and to this point in time, the necessary equations and models have not been assembled. Equally important, the process of identifying and estimating externalities leads to a number of complex issues that also have not been fully addressed. This document contains two types of papers that seek to fill part of this void. Some of the papers describe analytical methods that can be applied to one of the five steps of the damage function approach. The other papers discuss some of the complex issues that arise in trying to estimate externalities. This report, the second in a series of eight reports, is part of a joint study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Commission of the European Communities (EC)* on the externalities of fuel cycles. Most of the papers in this report were originally written as working papers during the initial phases of this study. The papers provide descriptions of the (non-radiological) atmospheric dispersion modeling that the study uses; reviews much of the relevant literature on ecological and health effects, and on the economic valuation of those impacts; contains several papers on some of the more complex and contentious issues in estimating externalities; and describes a method for depicting the quality of scientific information that a study uses. The analytical methods and issues that this report discusses generally pertain to more than one of the fuel cycles, though not necessarily to all of them. The report is divided into six parts, each one focusing on a different subject area.

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Medium: P; Size: 653 pages

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INIS; OSTI as DE00757380

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Jul 1994

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  • Report No.: No Number
  • Grant Number: AC05-84OR21400
  • DOI: 10.2172/757380 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 757380
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc707704

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • July 1994

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  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • Jan. 19, 2016, 1:16 p.m.

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Barnthouse, L. W.; Cada, G. F.; Cheng, M.-D.; Easterly, C. E.; Kroodsma, R. L.; Lee, R. et al. Estimating Fuel Cycle Externalities: Analytical Methods and Issues, Report 2, report, July 1994; Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc707704/: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.