The future of the nuclear industry reconsidered: Risks, uncertainties, and continued promise
Skeptics point out, with some justification, that the nuclear industry's prospects were dimmed by escalating costs long before Fukushima. If history is any guide, one direct consequence of the calamity in Japan will be more stringent safety requirements and regulatory delays that will inevitably increase the costs of nuclear power and further undermine its economic viability. For nuclear power to play a major role in meeting the future global energy needs and mitigating the threat of climate change, the hazards of another Fukushima and the construction delays and costs escalation that have plagued the industry will have to be substantially reduced. One promising direction for nuclear development might be to downsize reactors from the gigawatt scale to less-complex smaller units that are more affordable. Small modular reactors (SMRs) are scalable nuclear power plant designs that promise to reduce investment risks through incremental capacity expansion; become more standardized and reduce costs through accelerated learning effects; and address concerns about catastrophic events, since they contain substantially smaller radioactive inventory. Given their lower capital requirements and small size, which makes them suitable for small electric grids, SMRs can more effectively address the energy needs of small developing countries.
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
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.:
- 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.
- Bob Van der Zwaan, 2008. "Prospects for nuclear energy in Europe," International Journal of Global Energy Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 30(1/2/3/4), pages 102-121.
- Ioannis N. Kessides, 2010. "Nuclear Power and Sustainable Energy Policy: Promises and Perils," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 25(2), pages 323-362, August.
- 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 357-375, December.
- Jamasb, T. & Köhler, J., 2007. "Learning Curves For Energy Technology and Policy Analysis: A Critical Assessment," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0752, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
- -, 2010. "Cambio climático: una perspectiva regional," Coediciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 1405 edited by Cepal, June.
- 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.
- Xiaoling Zhang & Martin Skitmore & Yuzhe Wu & Kunhui Ye, 2010. "A regional construction R&D evaluation system for China," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(12), pages 1287-1300.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:48:y:2012:i:c:p:185-208. 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: (Dana Niculescu)
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.