Power to the people or regulatory ratcheting? Explaining the success (or failure) of attempts to site commercial US nuclear power plants: 1954-1996

Berndt, Eric; Aldrich, Daniel P.
June 2016
International Journal of Energy Research;6/10/2016, Vol. 40 Issue 7, p903
Academic Journal
Between 1954 and 1996, more than 200 nuclear power projects were publicly announced in the USA. Barely half of these projects were completed and generated power commercially. Existing research has highlighted a number of potential explanations for the varying siting outcomes of these projects, including contentious political protests, socioeconomic and political conditions within potential host communities, regulatory changes ('ratcheting'), and cost overruns. However, questions remain about which of these factors, if any, had an impact on these outcomes. This article uses a new data set of 228 host communities where siting was attempted to illuminate the factors that led projects towards either completion or cancelation. Controlling for factors highlighted by past studies, we find that regulatory, site- and reactor-specific factors predict the outcomes of attempts to site nuclear reactors over this time period. These findings have important implications in the post-Fukushima 'nuclear renaissance' era when many still hope to revitalize the nuclear industry in the USA. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


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