P. D. McClain, David Pijawka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The final point in the nuclear fuel cycle has always been the eventual retirement, decommissioning, of the 81 commercial nuclear power reactors presently in existence. This eventual retirement has been thought to be an issue of the future, because the large plants, built in the 1960s and 1970s. were assumed to have an expected operating life of 30 to 40 years. However, the reality is that several commercial reactors already have been decommissioned, and numerous others will soon reach maturity. This article examines decommissioning of nuclear power plants from a public policy–rather than a technical–perspective. A number of questions are addressed concerning the policy implications associated with decommissioning. The findings of the study are based on survey data from the utilities, an examination of NRC documents, interviews with NRC staff scientists, and site visits to several decommissioned plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)742-755
Number of pages14
JournalReview of Policy Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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