DEN : Thesis SL-DEN-14-0877



Research field

Thermal energy, combustion, flows / Engineering science


Energy choices, radioactive waste management and their assessment in the very long long run


Taking account of the very long run (ie up to 100 years) is specific of certain questions or concerns, such as assessing the cost of the nuclear electricity (including the cost of waste management) or setting the cost of CO2, at the worldwide macroeconomic scale.

The main objective of the thesis is to examine if it seems accurate to implement economic calculation with very low discount rates, inducing the possibility of significant weights of far future impacts on today's decisions.

Then, the main items of this thesis are the following ones:

1. To overview and organize the different methods used in the different countries and by different bodies

2. To take account of the specific features of the projects which can give more value to the long run. In this framework, we intend to analyze: the case where scarce resources are saved (eg ore or land? or sites for a radioactive waste repository), the case where the health of future generation can be at stake, the way of taking account of the higher volatility of the growth rate in the long run,

3. To analyze the question of the risks of the projects in the nuclear field and to precise how they can be included in discount rate or addressed by different ways (ie valued in monetary terms). The case of projects where they are only costs to stand (eg a project of waste management) will be part of the study: the addressed question is that, in such a case, the risks of extra costs cannot be mitigated by an opportunity of increased income (through sales, for instance? if we exclude to raise the price of the duty or service)? One specific point will be dedicated to the different nature of risks if radioactive waste are either placed in a repository or in an interim store. Special attention will be devoted to the value given by the increase of population confidence over time (near a nuclear site), the capitalized know how through experience over time (inducing possible increased efficiency) and the economic interest of project flexibility (inc. retrievability, reversibility, time schedule).

4. To precise what can change from the point of view of different bodies, eg electric utilities, the State or even the Parliament. The question is to find a way to harmonize the frequent situation where a given project has a positive value from one point of view (eg the State), and not from the other (eg an electric utility).

The results will be to form a possible base to future recommendations in the field of the nuclear production cost, including the waste management. In particular, the project aims to precise the answers to the following questions:

? Are the new technologies for the long run always assessed as low value assets (because of discount rates much higher than 0,5-1,5%)? Can we change such a situation? Why? How to do that?

? What are the other methods (other than discount rate) to take account of the long run?

? Is it possible to harmonize the different points of view of the different bodies involved in long run projects: ie to converge towards only one assessment (or a set of coherent decisions with regards to long run questions)?

? What are the specificities of nuclear power? How can we take account of them?

? Is it possible to propose new grounds to what we could cal "Radioactive Waste Management economics?"

? Is it possible to suggest possible guidelines in public and private decisions?


Institut de Technico-Economie des Systèmes Energétiques

Institut de Technico-Economie des Systèmes Energétiques
Centre : Saclay
Starting date : 01/10/2014

Contact person

CEA / DEN/I.Tésé

Bâtiment 125

CEA Saclay

91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex

Phone : 01 69 08 64 91

More about

University / Graduate School

Ecole Doctorale de Dauphine

Thesis supervisor

CEA / DEN/I.Tésé

Bâtiment 125

CEA Saclay

91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex

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