Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Prospects for Nuclear Power

Contents:

Author Info

  • Lucas W. Davis

Abstract

Nuclear power has long been controversial because of concerns about nuclear accidents, storage of spent fuel, and how the spread of nuclear power might raise risks of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. These concerns are real and important. However, emphasizing these concerns implicitly suggests that unless these issues are taken into account, nuclear power would otherwise be cost effective compared to other forms of electricity generation. This implication is unwarranted. Throughout the history of nuclear power, a key challenge has been the high cost of construction for nuclear plants. Construction costs are high enough that it becomes difficult to make an economic argument for nuclear even before incorporating these external factors. This is particularly true in countries like the United States where recent technological advances have dramatically increased the availability of natural gas. The chairman of one of the largest U.S. nuclear companies recently said that his company would not break ground on a new nuclear plant until the price of natural gas was more than double today's level and carbon emissions cost $25 per ton. This comment summarizes the current economics of nuclear power pretty well. Yes, there is a certain confluence of factors that could make nuclear power a viable economic option. Otherwise, a nuclear power renaissance seems unlikely.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.26.1.49
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 26 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 49-66

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:26:y:2012:i:1:p:49-66

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.26.1.49
Contact details of provider:
Email:
Web page: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Web: http://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Lucas W. Davis & Catherine Wolfram, 2011. "Deregulation, Consolidation, and Efficiency: Evidence from U.S. Nuclear Power," NBER Working Papers 17341, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ryan Kellogg, 2009. "Learning by Drilling: Inter-Firm Learning and Relationship Persistence in the Texas Oilpatch," NBER Working Papers 15060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Nicholas Z. Muller & Robert Mendelsohn & William Nordhaus, 2011. "Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1649-75, August.
  4. Paul Joskow & Nancy L. Rose, 1985. "The Effects of Technological Change, Experience, and Environmental Regulation on the Construction Cost of Coal-Burning Generating Units," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 1-17, Spring.
  5. Martin B. Zimmerman, 1982. "Learning Effects and the Commercialization of New Energy Technologies: The Case of Nuclear Power," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 297-310, Autumn.
  6. Grubler, Arnulf, 2010. "The costs of the French nuclear scale-up: A case of negative learning by doing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 5174-5188, September.
  7. repec:reg:wpaper:539 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. McCabe, Mark J, 1996. "Principals, Agents, and the Learning Curve: The Case of Steam-Electric Power Plant Design and Construction," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(4), pages 357-75, December.
  9. Paul L. Joskow, 2006. "The Future of Nuclear Power in the United States: Economic and Regulatory Challenges," Working Papers 0619, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  10. Rebecca Achee Thornton & Peter Thompson, 2001. "Learning from Experience and Learning from Others: An Exploration of Learning and Spillovers in Wartime Shipbuilding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1350-1368, December.
  11. C. Lanier Benkard, 2000. "Learning and Forgetting: The Dynamics of Aircraft Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Roger Fouquet, 2012. "Economics of Energy and Climate Change: Origins, Developments and Growth," Working Papers 2012-08, BC3.
  2. Charles F. Mason, 2013. "Uranium and Nuclear Power: The Role of Exploration Information in Framing Public Policy," Working Papers 2013.19, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Adela Conchado & Pedro Linares, 2010. "The Economics of New Nuclear Power Plants in Liberalized Electricity Markets," Working Papers 04-2010, Economics for Energy.
  4. Harris, Grant & Heptonstall, Phil & Gross, Robert & Handley, David, 2013. "Cost estimates for nuclear power in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 431-442.
  5. Aalbers, Rob & Shestalova, Victoria & Kocsis, Viktória, 2013. "Innovation policy for directing technical change in the power sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1240-1250.
  6. Rob Aalbers & Victoria Shestalova & Viktoria Kocsis, 2012. "Innovation policy for directing technical change in the power sector," CPB Discussion Paper 223, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  7. Alexander Fink & Thomas Stratmann, 2013. "U.S. housing prices and the Fukushima nuclear accident: To update, or not to update, that is the question," ICER Working Papers 04-2013, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  8. Lucas Davis & Catherine Hausman, 2014. "The Value of Transmission in Electricity Markets: Evidence from a Nuclear Power Plant Closure," NBER Working Papers 20186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:26:y:2012:i:1:p:49-66. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.