Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

External cost of fuel cycles: implementation of the accounting framework in France

Traditionally, energy generation cost assessments fail to account for the social and environmental impacts of power production. This results in a distorted market which favours technologies which have negative impacts. This project, which forms part of the ExternE work, aims to develop a methodology for France which can assess the environmental cost of the major fuel cycles used for power generation (nuclear and fossil fuels). It aims to produce results that can be of use in a wide range of applications, from the future choice of technology, to the determination of socially optimal levels of pollution control.

This project is based on current methodology that traces the impact pathway for each pollutant or other burden, from the source to the receptor, and evaluates damage in physical and monetary terms. The impacts of the entire fuel cycle, in this case fossil fuel and nuclear power, has been analysed, from fuel production to waste disposal, including plant decommissioning. The ExternE accounting (cost calculation) framework has been specifically adapted for France.

The physical impacts of each fuel cycle was assessed by a series of experts in the fields of crops, forestry, aquatic systems, fisheries, biodiversity and human health. The experts reviewed current literature regarding models of the physical impact of atmospheric pollution from burning fossil fuels. They also prepared a collection of dose/response models for assessing impacts with respect to ecology, building materials and human health. Where such models were not available, other methods for assessing pollutant impacts were reviewed.

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