Measuring the impacts of nuclear accidents on energy policy
Measuring the impacts of nuclear accidents on energy policy / Z. Csereklyeib, Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), February 2013, 36 p.
This paper examines the history of nuclear energy, safety developments of reactors and nuclear energy policy from the 1950s on. I investigate the eﬀects of nuclear accidents on energy policy with the help of a panel dataset of 31 countries from 1965-2009, using annual data about the capacity of reactors under construction, primary energy consumption, as well as three nuclear accidents scaled INES ﬁve or higher by the International Atomic Energy Agency. After determining the extent of the accident impact in the diﬀerent countries, I ﬁnd that neither Three Mile Island nor Lucens had a worldwide negative eﬀect on construction starts, while Chernobyl did. The eﬀect of Chernobyl is however shown to wear-oﬀ in certain geographical clusters, after ten to thirty years. I ﬁnd that nuclear capacity enlargement shows a signiﬁcant persistence, but it was also driven by primary energy consumption in the past ﬁve decades. The eﬀects of real interest rates, inﬂation, or gross domestic product on reactor construction were not found signiﬁcant. Thus, an accident is likely to have a negative and long lasting impact in the country where it happened, and possibly in countries aﬀected by the direct consequences, or where governments are subject to severe public pressure. It is diﬃcult to estimate the consequences Fukushima is going to have on worldwide power plant constructions, but areas closer to the accident might be aﬀected more negatively and for a longer time. Growing concerns of energy supply security and greenhouse gas emissions may counteract this impact at the legislative level.