An External Costs Assessment of the Impacts on Human Health from Nuclear Power Plants in Korea

국내원전운전(國內原電運轉)에 따른 보건영향(保健影響)의 외부비용평가(外部費用評價)

  • Published : 2008.06.30


As the first comprehensive attempt at a national implementation, this study aims at assessing the external costs of major electricity generation technologies in Korea, particularly an evaluation of the impacts on human health resulting from exposures to atmospheric radiological emissions from nuclear power plants, and a monetary quantification of their damages. The methodology used for the assessment of the externalities of the selected fuel cycles has been developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), namely the SimPacts Model Package. The model is internationally recognized as a tool which can be applied to a wide range of fuels, different technologies and locations, for an externalities study. In this study, the relevant emissions are quantified first and then their impacts on human health are evaluated and compared. The study focused on all the nuclear power plants for the last 6 years ($2001{\sim}2006$) in Korea. With respect to nuclear power, the impact analysis only focuses on a power generation, however the front- and back-end nuclear fuel cycles are not included, namely uranium mining, conversion, enrichment, reprocessing, conditioning, etc., because these facilities are not present in Korea. The analysis results show that nuclear power in general, generates low external costs. The highest damage costs from the nuclear power plants among the 4 sites in Korea were estimated to be 3.9 mills/MWh, which is about 1/20th of the result for a similar case study conducted in the U.K., implemented through the ExternE project. This difference is largely due to the number of radionuclides included in the study and the amount of released radioactive emissions based on up-to-date information in Korea. In this study, the sensitivities of the major factors for nuclear power plants were also calculated. The analysis indicates that there was around a ${\pm}3%$ damage costs variation to a ${\pm}15%$ change of the reference population density and a ${\pm}1%$ damage cost variation to a $1{\sim}30$ meters change of the effective release height, respectively. These sensitive calculations show that there is only a minor difference when the reference costs are compared.


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