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Choosing a New Organization for Management and Disposition of Commercial and Defense High-Level Radioactive Materials

January 24, 2013

Choosing a New Organization for Management and Disposition of Commercial and Defense High-Level Radioactive Materials

Source: RAND Corporation

Finding ways to safely store and ultimately dispose of nuclear waste has been on the national policy agenda for decades and remains a matter of considerable debate. This volume considers the creation of a new, single-purpose organization to manage and dispose of commercial and defense high-level radioactive materials. The authors first examine three organizational models — federal government corporation, federally chartered private corporation, and independent government agency — and evaluate how well they could perform the goals and responsibilities needed in a new management and disposition organization (MDO). The authors find that a federally chartered private corporation, with its commitment to stockholders and making a profit, would be weak in public accountability and political credibility. For the other two models (a federal government corporation and independent government agency), they describe the critical steps to designing an MDO, focusing on the critical relationship of the organization to the President and Congress, its source of funding, and other organizational attributes, such as how it will engage stakeholders and be treated by federal and state regulatory agencies. The authors emphasize that the key challenge in designing a new MDO is the need to strike a balance between political accountability and flexibility.

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