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Prospects for Nuclear Power

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  • Lucas W. Davis

Abstract

The prospects for a revival of nuclear power were dim even before the partial reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Nuclear power has long been controversial because of concerns about nuclear accidents, proliferation risk, and the storage of spent fuel. These concerns are real and important. In addition, however, a key challenge for nuclear power 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 costs. This is particularly true in countries like the United States where recent technological advances have dramatically increased the availability of natural gas.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17674.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Publication status: published as Lucas W. Davis, 2012. "Prospects for Nuclear Power," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 49-66, Winter.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17674

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  1. repec:reg:wpaper:539 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. 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, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(4), pages 357-75, December.
  3. 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, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 297-310, Autumn.
  4. Grubler, Arnulf, 2010. "The costs of the French nuclear scale-up: A case of negative learning by doing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 5174-5188, September.
  5. 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, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1350-1368, December.
  6. Nicholas Z. Muller & Robert Mendelsohn & William Nordhaus, 2011. "Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1649-75, August.
  7. Lucas W. Davis & Catherine Wolfram, 2012. "Deregulation, Consolidation, and Efficiency: Evidence from US Nuclear Power," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 194-225, October.
  8. C. Lanier Benkard, 2000. "Learning and Forgetting: The Dynamics of Aircraft Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
  9. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Charles F. Mason, 2013. "Uranium and Nuclear Power: The Role of Exploration Information in Framing Public Policy," Working Papers, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei 2013.19, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. 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, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research 04-2013, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  3. Linares, Pedro & Conchado, Adela, 2013. "The economics of new nuclear power plants in liberalized electricity markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(S1), pages S119-S125.
  4. Roger Fouquet, 2012. "Economics of Energy and Climate Change: Origins, Developments and Growth," Working Papers, BC3 2012-08, BC3.
  5. 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.
  6. Aalbers, Rob & Shestalova, Victoria & Kocsis, Viktória, 2013. "Innovation policy for directing technical change in the power sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1240-1250.
  7. 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.
  8. Harris, Grant & Heptonstall, Phil & Gross, Robert & Handley, David, 2013. "Cost estimates for nuclear power in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 431-442.

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