Option Wealth and Bequest Values: The Value of Protecting Future Generations from the Health Risks of Nuclear Waste Storage

Mary Riddel and W. Douglass Shaw


To assess the relative importance of current costs and future bene. ts of nuclear waste storage, we develop a simple model of bequest value. The basic model of nonparternalistic altruism is extended to account for the uncertain nature of the externality. The model is applied estimating the social costs of storing high-level nuclear waste at a central repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. We find that the total ex ante social cost per household associated with health and safety risks is $17,128 annually. Over half is attributed to a desire to protect future generations from the risk of nuclear waste storage. (JEL Q48)

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