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'IT'S IN THE AIR FOR YOU AND ME': NUCLEAR POWER IN FRANCE, GERMANY, SWEDEN AND THE UNITED STATES AFTER CHERNOBYL BY CASEY MORELL A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Frank Alcock Sarasota, Florida May, 2012
to my parents, friends and anyone else who helped me along the wayii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Where to begin? Thanks to Ren Cozad of The Ohio State University and Matt Ferrara of The University of South Florida for reading drafts of this thesis before it was submitted. Your insight and edits were most helpful. Thanks to Christopher Fraser of The University of York for tracking down an article I needed for research that was unavailable via our databases here (or, seemingly, anywhere else in the United States). Thanks to (in no particular order) the aforementioned, as well as Chelsea Corarito, Alexis Santos, Cheryl Askey, Destiny Lyals, Kathleen McQueeney, Michael Long, Elizabeth Burger, Alison Parks, Andrew Kotick, Lacey Sigmon, Martin Steele, Andrew Schuster, Gracelena Ignacio, Daniel O'Sullivan, Brittanie Drinosky, Rebecca Keegan, Kristen Korkowski & Alec Washburn for being such good friends during a stressful time in life. Thanks to David Bowie's A Reality Tour concert DVD for providing a great soundtrack for writing and researching (seriously). Thanks to Dr. Frank Alcock for reading innumerable drafts of this thesis before its submission, and for all of the constructive feedback he gave me during the process. Thanks to the other members of my committee, Dr. Barbara Hicks and Dr. Christopher Marcoux, for their insight. Thanks to Dr. Mike Michalson and Dr. Maria Vesperi for their mentorship throughout my time at New College. possible. iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS v Abstract vi 1 Atoms for peace: nuclear energy's place in the world 1 France 5 Germany 9 Sweden 13 The United States 16 Analysis 22 2 Another brick in the wall: how institutional structures 26 France 29 Germany 33 Sweden 36 The United States 42 Analysis 45 3 It's not that easy being green: public perceptions toward 47 nuclear power and the role of domestic green party movements France 48 Germany 51 Sweden 55 The United States 59 Analysis 65 4 Money, money, money: economic factors in nuclear power 68 development France 72 Germany 75 Sweden 79 The United States 81 Analysis 86 5 Conclusions and analysis 90 Works Cited 101 Polls Cited 109iv
LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES 1.1 Figure, French energy portfolio in GWh, 2009 6 1.1 Table, Key dates in nuclear power development in France 8 1.2 Figure, German energy portfolio in GWh, 2009 10 1.2 Table, Key dates in nuclear power development in Germany 12 1.3 Figure, Swedish energy portfolio in GWh, 2009 15 1.3 Table, Key dates in nuclear power development in Sweden 16 1.4 Figure, United States energy portfolio in GWh, 2009 18 1.4 Table, Key dates in nuclear power development in the United 21 States 2.1 Table, Kitschelt's input-output structure schematic 28 3.1 Figure, French support for nuclear power 49 3.2 Figure, Percentage of popular vote won by Bndnis '90/ 54 3.3 Figure, Percentage of popular vote won by Miljpartiet 58 3.4 Figure, Opinion polling regarding nuclear power plant 61 construction 3.5 Figure, Opinion polling in California regarding nuclear 62 power plant construction 5.1 Table, Kitschelt's model amended 97v
'IT'S IN THE AIR FOR YOU AND ME': NUCLEAR POWER IN FRANCE, GERMANY, SWEDEN AND THE UNITED STATES AFTER CHERNOBYL Casey Morell New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT This thesis seeks to analyze the evolution of nuclear energy policy in France, Germany, Sweden and the United States. These four countries were chosen because of their relatively common socio-economic and political traits, and because they are all major producers of nuclear power. While they were early adopters of the technology when it was introduced, these countries have taken divergent paths when it comes to how nuclear power is used within their borders at present. Various key elements were analyzed to determine their effect on nuclear energy policy, including political opportunity structures, the salience of opinion polling and electoral processes, and the economic drivers behind nuclear power development. While political opportunity structures may play a minor vi
variable to be considered. Economic factors, especially the industrial structures of utility grids (i.e., whether utilities are nationalized or privately owned), were far power development. Countries featuring state-owned utilities are more likely to have a robust nuclear power infrastructure than those with privatized electric grids. ________________________________ Dr. Frank Alcockvii
CHAPTER ONE Atoms for peace:1 nuclear energy's place in the world From Paris to Peoria and everywhere in between, nuclear power is arguably one of the more controversial issues facing the world today, though both the topic and line of study themselves have been around for many years. Research in atomic energy and radiation began in earnest around the turn of the 20th century as scientists began to examine the effects of radioactive materials on humans and on the environment, leading to technologies such as the x-ray. During the 1930s, scientists like Niels Bohr and Enrico Fermi conducted tests to see if it was possible to split the atom, a process where the nuclei of atoms of an element such as uranium would decay, or split, into smaller pieces, thereby yielding amounts of energy. In 1934, Fermi's experiments showed that, by blasting neutrons (subatomic particles that lack an electric charge) at uranium, the uranium would decay into other elements of lesser atomic weights. According to Einstein's theory of mass-energy equivalence, which states that the mass and the energy of an object are related to each other, the decrease in atomic weight displayed during the experiments meant that energy was released as a result.1 1 Dwight D. Eisenhower, "Atoms for peace," speech before the United Nations General Assembly, 8 December 1953.
However, these experiments were not self-sustaining, meaning that they nuclear reactor, a device called Chicago Pile-1 that could continuously yield led to the development and subsequent use of the atomic bomb by the United States against Japan to end World War II in 1945, but after the war, nuclear energy development and research was shifted toward peacetime and civilian needs chief among them the ability to generate electricity for populations that grew rapidly at war's end. By 1951, the United States and the Soviet Union built and maintained experimental nuclear reactors that were generating small amounts of electricity. eventually sustainable, clean and inexpensive form of power generation. Arco, power reactor when the Borax-III plant came online on 15 July 1955, and by 1957, Shippingport, Pennsylvania, providing electricity to households and businesses in the greater Pittsburgh area.22 2 http://www.ne.doe.gov/pdfFiles/History.pdf (accessed 14 April 2012).
By the dawn of the 1960s, commercial nuclear power reactors became more common. Nuclear power was being used to power naval vessels needing a constant source of electricity over a long voyage, such as submarines and commercial shipping boats. While nuclear capacity increased rapidly throughout the United States and a catastrophic one at Chernobyl (1986) in the Soviet Union. as an alternative energy source that emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional coal or gas-burning power plants, providing a reliable and greener source of energy for millions. However, many concerns about nuclear power exist, especially in light of the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi reactor in 3 concerns range from the disposal of spent nuclear materials when they can no longer be used in electricity-generating capacities to the overall safety of generating power from nuclear materials itself. chosen in particular because of their early histories in establishing nuclear power 3 3 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power today,"
infrastructures, with all starting the process in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Also, these four countries share relatively common socio-economic and political traits. According to the United Nations Human Development Index, each of the four states falls within the top twenty most well-developed countries in the world today.4 Each country is likewise among the top twelve producers of nuclear energy,5 and was examined by political scientist Herbert Kitschelt in 1986 in a study examining if a country's political opportunity structures impact the overall development of a nuclear power infrastructure. In some ways, this thesis looks to expand upon Kitschelt's original research and provide a more modern critique of his work (see chapter two). But while these countries are major producers of nuclear power and were early adopters of the technology when it was introduced, all have taken divergent paths when it comes to how nuclear power is used within their borders Sweden, due to phase out nuclear power in 2010, instead decided to reverse course and continue increasing nuclear power output. Germany, formerly committed to phase out nuclear power as well, changed its mind and 4 4 United Nations Development Programme, Human development index 2011 statistical annex, 2011, p. 126. 5 International Atomic Energy Agency, Nuclear power reactors in the world, 2011.
subsequently changed it again, accelerating the nuclear shutdown following the nuclear power since deciding to make it the cornerstone of its energy portfolio during the oil shocks of the 1970s. France With its 58 nuclear reactors, more than three-quarters of all of France's become the world's largest net exporter of nuclear energy and it is very apparent country exports about 70 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of nuclear energy6 each year, and France signed a recent deal with the United Kingdom to further develop the latter's nuclear energy portfolio.7 Because of France's position as a large-scale producer of nuclear energy, the International Energy Agency has called upon the country to become an alternative supplier of energy for the whole of Europe, 5 6 BBC News, "UK and France sign nuclear energy agreement," 17 February 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17069455 (accessed 17 February 2012). 7 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power in France," February 2012, http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf40.html (accessed 4 February 2012).
Figure 1.1: French energy portfolio in GWh, 2009 (the most recent year for which full (photovoltaic and thermal) energy, wind energy, tidal energy, and any other sources 8in order to reduce both greenhouse gas emissions on the continent and to reduce European dependence on oil9 and natural gas reserves from Russia.10 coal and peat oil gas waste nuclear biofuels hydro other sources*6 8 International Energy Agency, "IEA energy statistics electricity for France," 2012). 9 Ibid. 10 Luke Harding and David Hearst, "Europe fears winter energy crisis as Russia tightens grip on oil supplies," The Observer, 13 September 2009, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/13/russia-oil-exports-eu (accessed 17 April 2012).
Early research reactors were built throughout the 1950s and 1960s,11 but it was not until 1973 that the country began producing nuclear power in earnest. of the early 1970s, enacted a plan to build thirteen nuclear power plants by 1976 in order to make the country more energy independent (see further development in France's nuclear energy infrastructure in table 1.1).12 Public reaction to this plan was mixed, with ten protests against nuclear power taking place between 1975 and 1977 with upwards of 175,000 participants. However, because of strong police actions taken against those demonstrating, further protests did not take place on a wide scale.13 One explanation states that nuclear power was able to gain such a strong foothold in France because, like in Sweden (to be discussed later in this chapter), industrial groups saw the sector as a major source of exports and decided to heavily support it.147 11 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power in France." 12 lectricit de France, "1974: history of the EDF Group," 2010, 2012). 13 Herbert P. Kitschelt, "Political opportunity structures and political protest: antinuclear movements in four democracies," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, 1986, p. 71. 14 Kitschelt, p. 74.
Table 1.1: Key dates in nuclear power development in France 1974 government announces plans to build 13 nuclear plants by 1976: In a concerted effort to become more energy independent as a result of the 1973 oil crisis, the French president issued a directive to lectricit de France to construct nuclear power plants as a result given the low cost of fuel when power given France's relative lack of natural resources for power development Located in Alsace, the Fessenheim nuclear power plant came online in 1977 to supply power to 1,800 in mind, no plans have been announced to close or replace Fessenheim before 2017. 1978 blackout affecting nearly 75 percent of country spurs government to hasten nuclear power development: Due to issues with the electricity grid, demand for electricity outpaced supply, leading to a massive blackout on 19 December. As 1980 to help increase the amount of electricity generated. 2009 fast-breeder reactor Phnix, which generated nuclear fuel for power plants to After almost 40 years of service, the breeder reactor Phnix was retired. Breeder reactors are devices that generate more nuclear fuel than produce new nuclear fuel. Whether a replacement will be built in the coming years remains to be seen. 8
Germany15 Germany currently has seventeen nuclear reactors in operation, providing 16 Firms began constructing rudimentary nuclear reactors for research purposes during the 1950s and 1960s, largely concentrated in and around university campuses. Unlike in France, though, Germany's nuclear power development largely took place in throughout the 1970s as part of their utilities industries.17 vibrant anti-nuclear movement since the 1970s. For example, in 1975, upwards of 30,000 protestors occupied a tract of land along the French border that was slated to house a nuclear power plant and forced the government and the power company set to begin construction to abandon the project. Further protests in the 1980s forced plans to construct a fuel reprocessing center in Bavaria to be in the country after parts of West Germany were blanketed with radioactive Conservation and Nuclear Safety was founded in 1986 as a direct response to9 15 within the context of his analysis refers to the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) between 1949 and 1990; all other references are to modern-day Germany. 16 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power in Germany," February 2012, http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf43.html (accessed 20 February 2012). 17 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power in Germany."
Figure 1.2: German energy portfolio in GWh, 2009 (the most recent year for which full (photovoltaic and thermal) energy, wind energy, tidal energy, and any other sources 18the Chernobyl accident.19 Despite these protests, however, nuclear power still continued to play a Germany's eventual seventeen nuclear power stations were operating before the coal and peat oil gas waste nuclear biofuels hydro other sources*10 18 International Energy Agency, "IEA energy statistics electricity for Germany," 2012). 19 DW, "Nuclear power in Germany: a chronology," 10 September 2009, http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,2144,2306337,00.html (accessed 21 February 2012).
Chernobyl accident took place.20 Coalition governments in power through the 1970s, during the height of anti-nuclear protests, were avowedly pro-nuclear and did not allow much in the form of cross-debate before the Bundestag, or German parliament. However, in 2002, the Social Democratic (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, or SPD) government whose party platform had evolved from staunchly supporting nuclear power through the 1970s and 1980s to one of precaution announced plans to phase out nuclear energy in the country by 2021 in response to rising sentiments against nuclear power (see table 1.2).21 Democratic Union (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands, or CDU) party took power 2005, but were given a new urgency following the events at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor in Japan in 2011; eight plants were shuttered "irreversibly"22 later that year with plans to close the rest by 2022. Arguably, the shutdown had been on the cards for a number of years. When the SPD (Bndnis '90/Die Grnen), they adopted the policy goal of achieving the eventual 11 20 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power in Germany." 21 DW, "Nuclear power in Germany: a chronology." 22turnaround," The Bulletin of the Scientists, 7 September 2011, http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/op-eds/
phaseout of nuclear power. Instead, a compromise agreement was crafted where companies were forced to shut their reactors off after they had been operating for stations either to replace older stations or to increase overall nuclear capacity, as Germany's total nuclear power output levels were capped at 2.623 trillion kWh agreement with power companies in 2010 wherein all reactors would receive an eight year extension to their operating licenses based on the shutdown date constructed after 1980 would get an extra six year extension on top of the eight year deferral already offered.23 Table 1.2: Key dates in nuclear power development in Germany reactor in Germany goes online. Intended mainly for research purposes, the reactor served as a proof-of-concept that a German-designed system for generating nuclear power could be build and operated. 1975 Protestors force government to abandon plans to build a new nuclear plant: station near the French border and demonstrators proceeded to swarm the area. Nearly 30,000 people protested against the construction of the plant in that location, causing the government to drop the project and move it nuclear scene coming to the fore.12 23 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power in Germany."
Table 1.2: Key dates in nuclear power development in Germany 2002 The SPD, in coalition with Bndnis '90/Die Grnen, announce plans to phase out nuclear power by 2031: After being invited to take part in the federal government to announce a planned phaseout of nuclear power, a key element of their platform. However, upon the government's defeat in 2005, this phaseout was repealed. 2011 CDU-led government, which previously opposed the 2002 phaseout, announces plans to phase out nuclear power in light of Fukushima Daiichi accident: Citing the meltdown at Fukushima as proof that nuclear power is unsafe, the generation to make up the 23 percent generated via nuclear power in order to keep its power grid balanced. Sweden Sweden has long been on the forefront of using renewable sources of the government saw a need to reduce its reliance on foreign oil at the time, Sweden was the largest per capita importer of oil in the world and the price of oil was becoming incredibly volatile during the shocks of the 1970s.24 hydropower still remains dominant.2513 24 Johan Bergenas, "Spotlight: nuclear power in Sweden," Stimson, 15 April 2011, http://www.stimson.org/spotlight/nuclear-power-in-sweden/ (accessed 15 April 2012). 25 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear energy in Sweden," November 2011, http://world-nuclear.org/info/inf42.html (accessed 29 January 2012).
Like in other countries, research began in earnest in the 1950s andthe commercial use. In 1965, the Swedish government decided to shift its main energy focus away from hydropower, a renewable fuel source that was a primary generator of the country's electricity, to nuclear power production. A successful trial of a nuclear reactor that supplied electricity and heat to Stockholm was carried out the year before and acted as a proof-of-concept for the Swedish Sweden more energy independent and less susceptible to potential shocks in the oil markets, as at the time the country generated a majority of its electricity through oil-based power plants. During the 1970s, the country voluntarily assumed the role of an acceptor of spent nuclear fuel rods and materials due to its early adoption of the necessary technologies; accordingly the country has been All twelve of Sweden's nuclear reactors (two would be shut down in 1999 and 2005, leaving a current capacity of ten) came online during the 1970s and 1980s, with the last beginning power generation in 1985.2614 26 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear energy in Sweden."
Figure 1.3: Swedish energy portfolio in GWh, 2009 (the most recent year for which full (photovoltaic and thermal) energy, wind energy, tidal energy, and any other sources 27However, the Swedish nuclear program came under threat after a 1980 referendum that called for phasing out nuclear power (see table 1.3). During the 1990s, though, attitudes toward nuclear power began to soften and the Swedish government eventually changed course, reversing the phase out and allowing referendum will be discussed at greater length in the following chapter. coal and peat oil gas waste nuclear biofuels hydro other sources*15 27 International Energy Agency, "IEA energy statistics electricity for Sweden," 2012).
Table 1.3: Key dates in nuclear power development in Sweden Swedish reactor (named R1) was built on a university campus for research purposes, mainly to prove that it was possible to build a nuclear reactor. R1 was shut down in 1970. 1965 Swedish government begins initiative to increase nuclear power development: electricity generation. However, the country was still dependent on foreign oil imports to meet total demand. Because of volatility in the oil market, the government believed it would be more economical to become energy independent and spurred nuclear power development. 1980 Swedes vote in public referendum to phase out nuclear power by 2010: After nuclear power with three options for voters, all of which called for nuclear power to be eliminated within set amounts of time. Swedes voted to keep the plants open for as long as possible, and the Riksdag, or Swedish parliament, opted to set 2010 as the date of phaseout. 2010 Parliament overturns 1980 referendum and announces plans to keep nuclear plants open: power and climate change, the government announced plans to abandon the nuclear power phaseout. Laws banning the construction of new nuclear plants were also repealed, but construction is only allowed to replace currently existing nuclear power plants at their current locations. The United States In the United States, nuclear power generates roughly 20 percent of the 28 According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the arm of the United States government tasked with the authority to manage civilian nuclear materials, a total of 104 nuclear power 16 28 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear Power in the USA," February 2012 http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf41.html (accessed 2 February 2012).
stations are currently operating in the United States, with plants found in 31 of the 50 states.29 Of these plants, though, none have come online in the past decade; only 23 began operation after the Chernobyl disaster, with one plant beginning service just three days prior to the event. Nuclear power capacity in the United States has increased since 1980, when it only provided 11 percent of the country's total electricity.30 plants coming online before 1996, when the last new plant became operational; its construction started in 1973 and construction on the last plant to be built and become operational in the United States began in 1978.31 global economic recession that began in the mid-1970s dramatically impacted period.3217 29 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, (NUREG-1350, Volume 23): Rockville, 2011. 30 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear Power in the USA." 31 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, (NUREG-1350, Volume 23). 32 International Atomic Energy Agency, "50 years of nuclear energy," 2004, (accessed 5 February 2012).
Figure 1.4: United States energy portfolio in GWh, 2009 (the most recent year for which solar (photovoltaic and thermal) energy, wind energy, tidal energy, and any other sources 33 After Chernobyl, the United States' Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a report indicating that it felt as though "no immediate changes were needed in the NRC's regulations regarding the design or operation of U.S. commercial nuclear reactors as a result of lessons learned from Chernobyl" coal and peat oil gas waste nuclear biofuels hydro other sources*18 33 International Energy Agency, "IEA energy statistics electricity for United 16 April 2012).
in part because the Commission believed American-made nuclear reactors were the Chernobyl disaster, and nothing more than general maintenance procedures and proper safety protocols needed to be observed to ensure such an incident would not occur within the United States34 (see table 1.4). Even though no new plants have been built in the United States since the 1970s, researchers and utility corporations have been able to increase the total yield and power output at many plants in order to keep up with an everincreasing demand for electricity (average capacity factors35 increased from 56.3 Sweden, the initial push toward nuclear energy development and innovation bearing the cost of construction and maintenance of the power stations. But as electricity as a commodity became deregulated throughout the 1980s and 1990s, a completely private market for nuclear power development. In order to save 19 34 Nuclear Regulatory Commission "NRC: Backgrounder on Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident," http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/ 35 to the potential power output the plant could produce.
themselves to conglomerates. From 1991 to 1999, the number of utilities with ownership in nuclear power plants dropped from 101 to 87; today, the largest ten utilities in the United States produce more than 70 percent of the electricity generated from nuclear power.36 Currently, only one "new"37 nuclear power station is under construction in 38 the Watts Bar 2 project was started in 197239 before being shut down due to a budget shortfall and subsequently restarted in 2007 to respond to increased demand.40 Upon its completion in either in 2012 or 2013, Watts Bar 2 will be the years.20 36 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear Power in the USA." 37 Watts Bar 2 is an extension to an already extant nuclear power station, so while the construction of the second unit is, indeed, new construction, it is not technically part of a new power station. 38 http://www.tva.gov/power/nuclear/wattsbar.htm (accessed 10 April 2012). 39 International Atomic Energy Authority, "Nuclear power reactor details Watts 2 April 2012). 40
Table 1.4: Key dates in nuclear power development in the United States At FermiLab at the bomb and for nuclear reactor development. 1957 reactor in Shippingport, Pennsylvania provides electricity to Pittsburgh homes: A small nuclear reactor constructed by the federal government and local utilities could rely on nuclear power plants as stable sources of electricity for their customers and could be explored as a future alternative power source. plant construction: to operator error and mechanical malfunctions. While only scant amounts of radioactive materials were released into the environment, the public became increasingly concerned that all nuclear plants were unsafe and that nuclear power was not worth the risk. 2012-3 Watts Bar 2, an expansion of a plant whose construction began in the 1970s, is set to come online: thereafter, construction on new nuclear power plants in the United States constructing them despite advancements in reactor safety. However, construction on the Watts Bar 2 extension, whose construction was halted after United States in nearly 40 years.21
What has caused these countries all similar in overall socio-economic development and nuclear energy history to have such vastly different outlooks on nuclear power? Various factors may be considered. Some countries may not be keen on using nuclear power because of the cost involved: despite long-term cost projections showing nuclear power to be cost-effective over time, the upfront expense is great. Others may worry about the environmental impacts of nuclear power and the potential for a meltdown or other accident to impact society immensely, while another obstacle may simply come from governments that are unwilling to provide licenses or relevant regulatory measures to allow are they more universal and can be applied to each of the four countries in this thesis or, perhaps additionally, to any country considering nuclear energy as a means for generating electricity? In order to ascertain the reasoning behind the differences in French, German, Swedish and American nuclear energy policy, each chapter will contain an in-depth discussion of each country's nuclear power development within the development of electricity generation: 22
Structural and institutional constraints. examined are all democracies, the ways in which their governments create and craft policy vary immensely. Both Germany and the United States are devolved to local authorities, whereas France and Sweden are unitary states, variations in policy may result from differences in overall political opportunity structures present. Do certain types of government structures make it more or policy? Can accelerations or declines in the overall use of nuclear energy in countries be attributed to the ways in which their governments operate? Public resistance, the green movement and overall social disposition. While nuclear do not, many are loathe to the idea of having a nuclear power station located near their homes due to the risk of potential catastrophe in the event of a malfunction or a natural disaster. Images of areas around the both the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi power stations, which became largely fallow and uninhabitable following their respective 1986 and 2011 disasters, have become ingrained in the public consciousness as the nuclear debate continues. 23
policy? Are so-called "green movements" successful in their aims to curtail or limit nuclear power usage? Are those opposing nuclear power advocating the use of other alternative sources of energy instead? Can nuclear policies be linked to indicators of raw public opinion and/or political resistance? Economic concerns. Nuclear power can be a far more cost-effective way to generate electricity than other, traditional forms of power generation such as coalor gas-based power plants. Estimates from both the Finnish and American governments state that nuclear power costs less to generate per kilowatt-hour in implementing a wide-scale nuclear energy power grid may render the economic arguments less attractive.41 In the countries being examined, each has infrastructure. France has maintained state ownership of its nuclear plants sector; Germany and Sweden have adopted a mix of the aforementioned strategies to create a mixed market. But how have economic concerns played a role in the widespread or otherwise implementation of nuclear power on a country's domestic energy grid? Does a country become more or less 24 41 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power economics," http://world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html (accessed 13 April 2012).
receptive to nuclear power if the private market is left responsible for introducing the technology or is state intervention necessary for a country to produce nuclear power in abundance? Is the cost factor simply limited to the amount of money needed to construct a new nuclear power plant or are other elements, such as disposal and reconstitution of spent nuclear fuel rods, also parts of the economic equation that need to be considered? Does a lack of other available sources of energy, such as hydropower, natural gas or coal, enhance a country's willingness to adopt and use nuclear power? In closing, one of these factors may prove to have a greater role in the development of a nuclear power infrastructure; whether that proves to be the case, though, remains to be seen.25
CHAPTER TWO Another brick in the wall:42 policy Just as all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles squares, not all this case nuclear power. Kitschelt examines how variances in political structures impacted popular anti-nuclear power movements in France, Sweden, the United States and West Germany. Written and published before the Chernobyl accident in April 1986, Kitschelt looks at the various governance structures in place in each of his four case studies and how receptive these structures are to receiving opinions from the public and subsequently changing policy aims accordingly by focussing on their reactions to a then-nascent anti-nuclear movement. movements in some instances and constrain them in others."43 26 42The Wall 1979. 43 Kitschelt, p. 58.
considers to be four main factors that "determine the openness of political 1. articulate different demands in electoral politics." 2. "Openness increases with the capacity of legislatures to develop and control policies independently of the executive." Citing that legislative bodies are "electorally accountable" arms of the government, Kitschelt believes that accessible legislatures respond well to public coercion and pressure. 3. "Patterns of intermediation between interest groups and the executive branch [ shape] political openness." Kitschelt believes that if highlevel connections between lobbyists and policymakers exist, it is easier for new items to be added to the political agenda. 4. forming policy compromises and consensus. For this to occur, there must be mechanisms that aggregate demands."44 Essentially, Kitschelt argues that a large, diverse set of political groups agitating for different sets of demands leads to a vibrant democratic structure. Kitschelt also states a series of factors needed to classify the overall output structure of a government and the overall effectiveness in a state's ability to craft, enact and legislate domestically:1. legislatures/governments with wide-reaching power) have a greater 2. Government control of certain market functions (i.e., "the degree of state share of GNP and its share of total employment, and the state's coordination, control or exclusion of economic interest groups in policypolicy; 27 44 Kitschelt, p. 63.
3. removed from executive branch control."45 Kitschelt proceeds to construct a template to assess the political opportunity structures of France, Sweden, the United States and West Germany: Table 2.1: Kitschelt's input-output structure. Open political input structures Closed political input structures Strong political output structures Weak political output structures Sweden France United States West GermanyKitschelt argues that protests and other actions on the part of a demonstrative public will be more effective in countries with strong participatory democracies (open political input structures) whose national governments are highly output structures).46 Kitschelt opts to look at the structures of political regimes in his analysis because they are "relatively inert  while they are not immutable, they respond only slowly to new policy demands."4728 45 Kitschelt, pp. 63-4. 46 Ibid; table from Kitschelt, p.64. 47 Kitschelt, p. 62.
France, Germany, Sweden and the United States and how Kitschelt's argument applies to the political systems in each country. As well, more contemporary interpretations of the effects of political opportunity structures on a nuclear power infrastructure will be incorporated into this analysis in order to determine whether or not Kitschelt's theory holds true more than 25 years after it was restructuring to merit Kitschelt's argument outdated, or is it still relevant? France structure and weak political output structures, France is described as having a closed input structure (like Germany) and a strong output structure (like Sweden). Because the French government is structured with a strong president, "the party system of the Fifth Republic exhibits centripetal tendencies. demands generated by the cross-cutting cleavages of the 'new politics.'"4829 48 Kitschelt, p. 65.
Kitschelt states that because the major parties in France wish to keep and hold on to power, they are willing to maintain a general sense of status quo that does not spur much innovation or much discussion on burgeoning policy spheres. Like in Germany, referenda on nuclear power were basically out of the question; though French law does not prohibit their use to measure the popularity of a policy initiative, the weak French legislature could not easily be pressured into introducing a referendum due to the aforementioned unwillingness to craft new development of a nuclear power infrastructure was proposed by Delmas and Heiman in 2001.49 While Kitschelt leaves room for other interest groups to wield virtually moot. Essentially, a French president is able to craft policy directives and mandate his ministers to carry them out, at which point parliament complies due to relatively high levels of party loyalty and an unwillingness to face retribution for speaking out; this, though, can be affected by periods of "cohabitation," where the parliament is controlled by a different party than the president's. Additionally, they point out that the French judiciary has no access 30 49Government credible commitment to the French and American nuclear power industries," Management, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Summer, 2001), pp. 433-456.
legal challenges to presidential policy directives, and there is no real possibility for reforming the system to allow the judiciary to play any type of role in the process: cannot make laws, and if they did, the Parliament would overturn them (activists know this and few if any legal challenges are even begun). High judicial policy because the transaction costs are too high (e.g., rewriting the constitution to grant the courts unassailable independent authority)."50 Unlike in other countries, lobbying in France is not regulated insofar that neither the Senate nor the National Assembly (the houses of France's bicameral However, certain industrial groups or others deemed as "important and representative" may be given access to the Senate chamber at the discretion of the senate's president; similar rules apply for the National Assembly, which serves as the lower house. what it is they can and cannot do: "Article 79 of the rules of procedure forbids deputies from pleading and from using their position or status or allowing it to be used for any purpose other than the performance of their duties as deputy, with disciplinary sanctions for non31 50 Delmas and Heiman, p. 439.
which defends private, local or professional interests or from making any commitments to such groups regarding their parliamentary activities, if such membership or commitments involve accepting mandatory instructions."51Essentially, one argument states that because parliamentary rules only allow disparate voices from causes they may not agree with in an attempt simply to green party () wanted to bring in a representative in favor of their platform, larger parties could forbid it from happening. Perhaps counterintuitively, the green movement may have set itself up for the 1970s and 1980s, when the nuclear issue was most salient in French politics, a fractured green movement consisting of two separate parties refused to align with either leftor right-wing parties, thereby causing their message to not be as well heard by traditional voters even though large majorities of French voters appeared to be sympathetic to their platform. Because the greens intentionally became much easier for larger, more established parties to ignore them and their 32 51 Wilhelm Lehmann, "Lobbying in the European Union: current rules and practices," European Parliament Directorate-General for Research, Jan. 2003.
views, even when they attempted to make inroads back into mainstream politics during the 1990s.52 echo Kitschelt's original belief that the French system is relatively closed to input largely responsible for setting the parliamentary agenda, and because of the structure of the French political system, parliament simply can ignore any type of opposition to the president's agenda when crafting policy. As the judiciary is not it can remain in place until the next administration decides to amend or to remove it. Germany much like the United States, but also with a closed political input structure. respective states (or lnder) respectively, "[the] jurisdictional and territorial fragmentation of the [German] state is great, the judiciary is quite autonomous, and the state is restricted with respect to both the choice of instruments and the resources at its disposal in the control of 33 52 vol. 47, issue 3, 1994: pp. 446-455.
along class and religious cleavages, weak legislature and inaccessible executive make West German political input structures appear more like those of the closed French system than those of the more open American and Swedish polities."53 state-level politics and that often translates poorly on a national level; prohibits plebiscites,54 meaning that anti-nuclear campaigners would be unable to put the issue of nuclear power to an up-or-down public vote. In November 1978, Austria did just that, and the public decided to ban nuclear power within the country's borders;55 in 1980, Sweden held a referendum to gauge public interest on the nuclear issue, which will be discussed in greater detail later in this chapter.56 Heijden cites as why green movements have been able to gain so much traction in the country whereas they have stalled out in others. Complementing Kitschelt, 34 53 Kitschelt, p. 66. 54 Kitschelt, p. 70. 55 Peter Weish, "Austria's no to nuclear power," 1988, 56 Kitschelt, p. 70.
van der Heijden created a typology for classifying the political opportunity representation, for example) and whether ballot initiatives like referenda were available. He juxtaposed this with whether or not policymakers try to assimilate contrary views into their own (an inclusive strategy) or if they try to prohibit them from playing any role in the debate itself (an exclusive strategy). Because Germany's government is structured in a theoretically open way (proportional representation, many political parties and opportunities to get involved with government, etc.) but its elites act exclusively, van der Heijden argues Germany would be a natural place for reactionary green movements to take hold given little other opportunity for their platforms to be heard, similar to how things operate in France.57 Unlike in France, though, the German government requires a list of all lobbying groups that appear before the government or the Bundestag (parliament) to be kept and published for public review; however, the government has broad leeway to dismiss any group at any time, even if they previously had been bestowed credentials to access the chambers, and to invite groups that had not been asked to appear before the Bundestag when deemed 35 57 international political opportunity structures," Organization & Environment, vol. 9, 2006.
necessary. By and large, the groups that appear are trade unions, not ecological lobbies; this may be credited to the fact that Germany's green movement has been quite robust for many years.58 Kitschelt's original analysis of Germany's political structures seems to hold today, even though his hypothesis was developed before German period the CDU and the SPD have held the position of being the main governing party with their party members serving as chancellor, reinforcing the idea of a closed-input structure.59 be as closed as Kitschelt and van der Heijden postulate. Because each post-war government in Germany has been a coalition government, smaller, fringe parties green party was able to negotiate a phaseout of nuclear power under the SPD government elected in 1998. Sweden 36 58 Lehmann, "Lobbying in the European Union: current rules and practices." 59 Chancellorsfrom1949to2005/chancellors-from-1949-to-2005.html (accessed 29 April 2012).
like the United States, but instead of having America's weak political output structures, the country has strong ones, mainly due to "its unitary public administration, weak political judiciary and fairly high degree of control and concentration of the economy." He goes on to argue that consensus-oriented, responsive bureaucracy are all factors that weigh in favour great openness."60 movements work within existing party structures rather than by directly because this is the most effective way of giving their ideas traction; accordingly, both moderate and left-wing parties adopted anti-nuclear platforms throughout the 1970s and 1980s.61 a surprise that Kitschelt considers Sweden to be the most successful country at responding to the anti-nuclear movement, and his evidence is seemingly supported: through the late 1970s and early 1980s, Swedes were highly effective in their efforts to curb nuclear power production and managed to have all political parties sign a pledge to maintain production at their then-current levels 37 60 Kitschelt, p. 65. 61 Kitschelt, pp. 68, 70.
in 1980.62 determine the public's receptiveness toward nuclear power following the events determined date and investing in other energy technologies; conservation and consumption, as well as moving electricity production out of the private sector and moving it to the public sector; the third option called for shuttering all nuclear power stations within ten years.Option two received the highest percentage of votes, followed by option three and then option one, leading the government to call for nuclear power to be phased out in Sweden by 2010.63 outside the Soviet Union to record any type of anomalous activity coming from Chernobyl as nuclear fallout from the disaster was spread by westerly winds.64 Following the results of the 1980 referendum, Sweden continued to make strides toward phasing out nuclear power by 2010 by closing two nuclear power plants; the country, however, increased capacity at its other plants in order to make up for the difference. 38 62 Kitschelt, p. 82. 63 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear energy in Sweden." 64 CNN, "Chernobyl haunts engineer who alerted world," http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9604/26/chernobyl/230pm/index2.html (accessed 11
But during the 2000s, things began to change: the Centre Party (Centerpartiet), which Kitschelt had mentioned as a moderate party that supported getting rid of nuclear power in his study, decided to abandon its antipartners (though ostensibly this type of shift in policy does align with Kitschelt's argument that parties, being the primary crafters of policy, evolve due to outside 6566 and by 2010, put forth a plan before the Riksdag (parliament) to reverse the planned phaseout and to allow companies to replace the ten nuclear reactors with new 174 votes in favor to 172 against and allowed Sweden to reinvest in nuclear power.67 However, that attitude was called into question a month after the accident at the Fukushima stated before the Riksdag that "we are not prolonging the use of nuclear power. 39 65 "Centre dumps nuclear deal," 66 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear energy in Sweden." 67 World Nuclear News, "New phase for Swedish nuclear," 18 June 2010,
We have said that we will cut our reliance on nuclear power and that is exactly what we are doing."68 Kitschelt's analysis of Swedish political opportunity structures is challenged, however, from a feminist perspective and is compared more to the French model of unitary government than anything else. Joyce Gelb notes that platforms, more often than not their attempts can be stymied easily since the judiciary lacks the power to question the government's schemes, thereby making the Swedish cabinet almost a unilateral actor when it comes to crafting policy not unlike the situation that exists in France as cited by Delmas and Heiman.69 But Sweden isn't simply a Nordic Normandy: interestingly, its encourages those on the fringes to come back toward the center in order to facilitate consensus-driven politics not unlike the German political system as 40 68 authentic paradigmshift?," 9 September 2011, http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/fukushima-crisis-can-japan69 Joyce Gelb,Feminism and Politics: a comparative perspective,Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.
no real effort has been made to change this policy, the thought being that it is far 70 government and political opportunity structures are more nuanced than originally postulated. While Gelb's analysis is used to point out how women have been able to play an increased role in Swedish government and society, it can also be used as a commentary on how the government responds or would be expected to respond to challenges to its nuclear energy policy ambitions.71 Like in France, the Swedish judicial system lacks the relative power to question policies enacted by the government. Because of this, the current government's decision to overturn the results of the 1980 referendum essentially ignoring the will of the people cannot be questioned or overturned, leading to the 41 70 Lehmann, "Lobbying in the European Union: current rules and practices." 71 Gelb, pp. 139-140.
The United States "America's political input structures exhibit fairly great openness to interest articulation but far less openness with respect to the aggregation of new demands,"arguing that the country does a good job in welcoming diversity of opinions but then does little to implement them in practical ways.72 Because the government is a pluralistic democracy, parties tend to revert to the status quo when negotiating new policy initiatives rather than creating new, grandiose visions for the future; similarly, Kitschelt believes the country's independent executive branch is unable Constitution, and when coupled with the threat of an autonomous judiciary that can derail any type of development, the argument that innovation, if present at all, comes very slowly is strengthened. having an open political input structure because it has a legislative body that is local, state and federal levels. However, as each state in the country is able to wield a great deal of power within its borders regarding matters such as taxation, education and healthcare, and as the United States on a federal level does not maintain strict market controls, its output structures are listed as being weak.42 72 Kitschelt, p. 66.
the American government has, intentionally or otherwise, distorted the marketplace for nuclear power development, which contrasts with Kitschelt's assertion that the United States lacks market controls. In 1957, Congress passed the PriceAnderson Act, which limited the amount of liability borne to energy utilities to $500 million in the event of a catastrophic event or accident. Accordingly, the government forced utilities to take out insurance policies to safer, more compact nuclear reactor designs for many years because the money that would need to be funneled into research and development far outweighed the potential liability to the company in case something went awry; in short, the marketplace by mandating this insurance coverage because it would actually cost less money to clean up a catastrophic accident than it would to go out and build a new nuclear power plant.73 When looking at American nuclear power development vis--vis has held up. Even though the United States devolves some elements of government policy to its states, all regulation of commercial nuclear power 43 73Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 67, no. 1 (Aug. 2006), pp. 37-49.
stations comes directly from the federal government,74 combined with the NRC itself devolving some elements of responsibility to the states, not every state has agreed to or sought to take on these roles.75 In fairness, because the political anti-nuclear groups or highly ecologically-focused parties the United States Green Party, for example, seems to be perpetually nascent and in a state of arrested development anti-nuclear protestors can largely be ignored by mainstream political movements. In fact, a February 2010 vote by the Vermont that the public or its representatives has decided to close a reactor," according to The New York Times;76 a majority of Vermonters support the decision to shut the plant down, despite the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to allow the plant to continue operation.77 With a few plants scheduled to be built by 2018, and given that coal-burning power plants supplying 50 percent of America's 44 74 Nuclear Regulatory Commission, "NRC: About NRC," http://www.nrc.gov/ about-nrc.html (accessed 29 February 2012). 75 Nuclear Regulatory Commission, "NRC: State and tribal programs," http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/state-tribal.html (accessed 29 February 2012). 76The New York Times, 24 February 2010, https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/us/ 77 shutting-down-verm/ (accessed 27 February 2012).
power generate two-thirds of its total carbon dioxide emissions,78 any new nonemitting power plants could be a boon to the American environment. holds some relevance to today's nuclear energy debate. Nuclear power development has stalled in much of the world in large part due to last decade's economic recession and the events at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi reactor in 2011. By being able to understand which countries are most open to lobbying and to outside pressures when it comes to crafting energy policy, business professionals and laypeople alike may be able to look at how governments act in order to predict which ones will be more likely to add nuclear power to their energy portfolios. Based on Kitschelt's argument and current results, countries with strong political output structures in his model, France and Sweden are more likely to embrace nuclear power as a viable source of alternative energy, whereas those with weak political output structures, like Germany and the United States are not. further. He argues that the United States and Germany would be the least likely 45 78The New York Times, 14 February 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/business/15coal.html (accessed
of the four countries to use nuclear power because of their weak output structures, but he neglects to state what seems like an obvious point. Of the four devolution of power away from the central government may play a role in how likely it is for a country to embrace a nuclear power infrastructure. But the fact that Kitschelt's hypothesis was developed before the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters weakens its overall relevance today. While it has tended to hold as a mostly relevant and plausible explanation for how readily a country could turn to nuclear power based solely on its political output structures, unexpected even more, especially when examined in conjunction with public opinion data and the relative salience of environmental issues among a country's main political parties.46
CHAPTER THREE It's not that easy being green:79 public perceptions toward nuclear power and the role of domestic green party movements Each of the countries examined in this thesis are participatory democracies with political structures that, on paper, allow for participation in governance from multiple political parties. With issues such as climate change becoming more ingrained in the public consciousness, so-called green parties those with platforms concentrating primarily on ecological issues could be in a position to make in-roads in government; as their issues become more salient to the general public, more voters may wish to advocate on their behalf by voting for their policies. Conversely, if voters in each country seem to not care much about the issue of nuclear power, their support for their local green parties may not be very high. But how can this be measured? Systematic polling data taking both before very spotty and not taken during largely consistent time periods. Instead, to supplement polling data taken over the past decade, political party platforms will be assessed as a channel for displaying public sentiments toward nuclear power. Have political parties in the mainstream become more or less in favor of 47 79 Joe Raposo, "Bein' Green," The Muppet Show
nuclear power over time, or has it remained mostly a fringe issue relegated to amounts of the populations in each of the four countries actually care one way or the other about the nuclear power and, subsequently, whether that translates into a vibrant green movement and/or strong representation on the part of green parties in each country's government. France Public opinion : Given the French government's reliance on nuclear power and subsequently low energy costs, one could safely assume that everyone in France is as supportive of nuclear power as the French government is. However, polling data over the past decade indicates a far more nuanced opinion. At the afterthought: 70 percent of those surveyed had a "good opinion" toward nuclear energy and a further 62 percent wanted research and development to continue in earnest.80 48 80 Embassy of France in the United States, "Nuclear notes from France," 29 September 2007, http://web.archive.org/web/20070929083946/http:// 2012).
Figure 3.1: French support for nuclear power remained high immediately after the Fukushima disaster but reversed a few weeks following.81(57 percent) were against the use of nuclear power.82 contradicted by a 2008 poll commissioned by the European Commission generated from nuclear power stations, however, but is aligned with further 0 25 50 75 level of supporttime period supports nuclear power in France does not support nuclear power in France49 81 http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFLDE73C0ZI20110413 (accessed 8 82 BBC World Service, "BBC World Service poll: energy use and the environment," 2012).
see the overall share of power generated by nuclear energy to decrease.83 Recent opposition to nuclear development has largely come under the guise of what do with nuclear waste generated by nuclear power plants the aforementioned European Commission report states that 82 percent of respondents in France believed there was no safe way to dispose of radioactive waste;84 reports from 1997 also indicate widespread opposition to placing disposal and/or reprocessing plants in rural areas of France.85 Party platforms : France, however, does have green party representation in its parliament, with Les Verts86 winning four seats in the National Assembly in 2007, the date of the most recent parliamentary election.87 However, given the 577 seats were contested at the 2007 election and various structural constraints discussed in chapter two, such a small level of 50 83 Parliamentary Greens-EFA Group, 2008. 84 Schneider, "Nuclear power in France: beyond the myth," p. 37. 85 Jon Palfreman, "Why the French like nuclear energy," Frontline, 1997, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/ 86 87 de l'immigration, "Resultats des elections legislatives," 17 June 2007,
the French parliament does not mean that ecological issues have not become part of major party platforms, with France's two main parties the Socialist Party (Parti socialisteUnion pour une mouvement populair has become something of a campaign issue in the 2012 French presidential election. Franois Hollande, the PS presidential candidate, has campaigned partially on the platform of reducing French dependence on nuclear power from with Europe cologieLes Verts in upcoming parliamentary elections they will not run candidates in certain seats in order to increase green representation in parliament. In exchange, Europe cologieLes Verts will support Hollande in the second round of the French presidential election.88 Germany Public opinion : As described in chapter two, Germany has had somewhat of a tortured history with nuclear energy, deciding in 2000 to phase out the industry completely, only to reverse course on two different occasions, most 51 88 BBC News, "Parties clash over future of nuclear power in France," 17 November 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15771915 (accessed 15 April 2012).
history of anti-nuclear protests in the country, with protestors regularly interfering with railway transports of nuclear waste to a reprocessing facility in Gorleben; in recent years, protestors have been injured and killed in their efforts in trying to stop the trains' progress.89 Accordingly, recent polling data indicate that support for nuclear energy in Germany is very low, with only 21 percent of those surveyed in April 2011 expressing support for the continuation of nuclear power development.90 A 2008 European Commission poll also shows that 66 percent of Germany surveyed believed that nuclear energy usage should decrease.91 Party platforms : Despite ostensible structural obstacles working against nuclear energy policy in Germany. However, despite the lack of legislative action taken in Germany before Chernobyl to reduce the country's use of nuclear energy, it's hard to say that the anti-nuclear movement "failed to open any new 52 89 Der Spiegel, "A timeline of the anti-nuclear movement in Germany," 90 Ipsos, "Sharp world wide drop in support for nuclear energy as 26% of new opponents say Fukushima drove their decision", 20 June 2011, 2012). 91 BBC World Service, "BBC World Service poll: energy use and the environment."
party [or] legislative avenues of representation."92 Die Grnen, the forerunner to Germany's modern-day green party, was founded in 1980 and had an avowedly anti-nuclear policy platform in its energy policy; the party picked up gain parliamentary representation, results during the next election in 1983 gave the party a huge boost, climbing to 5.6 percent of the vote and winning 28 parliamentary seats.93 Grnen's94 Bndnis '90/Die Grnen gained further prominence as part of the Social Democratic coalition government that instituted Germany's eventual phaseout of nuclear power; recently, the party has taken over the state, or land, government in 53 92 Kitschelt, pp. 75-76. 93 94 merged with an East German social activist party to form a new party named Bndnis federal election, all references therein are to the party formed as a result of the merger.
Figure 3.2: Despite a few small drops in its share of the popular vote, Bndnis '90/Die Grnen has been able to increase its overall representation in German politics after the past seven elections. say they support Bndnis '90/Die Grnen in forthcoming elections.95 nuclear power throughout their histories. As stated in chapter one, the SPD, which is one of Germany's two main political parties, supported nuclear power expansion throughout the 1970s and 1980s before adopting a policy to phase out CDU which is the other main political party and formerly supported nuclear 2 5 8 11 14 1994 1998 2002 2005 2009 Percentage of popular vote won by Bndnis '90/Die Grnen in federal elections since reunification, 1994percentage of vote receivedfederal elections54 95 Nicholas Kulish, "Greens gain in Germany, and the world takes notice," The New York Times, 1 September 2011, https://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/world/
power as well renounced its views on nuclear power in light of the Fukushima Daiichi accident.96 Sweden Public opinion : Sweden's love affair with nuclear power was not without the late 1970s to examine whether the public was as enthralled with nuclear and consistently ranked nuclear energy as the third-safest option of the four included (hydropower, coal and oil were also included).97 showed that younger Swedes (aged 16-24) were most against nuclear power, younger respondents was far smaller than that for the other generational groups surveyed (ages 25-59 and ages 60-75) and the age disparity in that group was the smallest, possibly skewing results.98 55 96 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-28/merkel-party-hints-at-german97 1980," Svenska Institutet fr Opinionsunderskningar: Vallingby, 1980. 98 Zetterberg, p. 22.
Like Germany, Sweden has seen its fair share of volte-faces when it comes to nuclear energy; as described in chapter two, the country voted in 1980 to phase out nuclear power by 2010 only to decide to eliminate the shutdown by electing a parliamentary coalition in 2006 that vowed to keep the reactors open for longer. Recent polling data indicates that most Swedes have consistently favored using nuclear energy over the past ten years, with surveys conducted every four years within the Swedish National Election Studies showing 45, 51 and 48 percent of Swedes supporting nuclear power in 2002, 2006 and 2010 respectively to only 32, 31 and 30 percent opposed in the same years. Additional polling conducted yearly indicates that Swedes have grown to accept and appreciate nuclear power over the past decade wholeheartedly: in 2000, Swedes were split 44 percent to 36 percent against continued use of nuclear power, but by 2010 the numbers changed to show 53 percent in favor to 30 percent opposed, as the favorable numbers increased steadily over the course of the decade. However, following the events at Fukushima, poll data in favor of resuming the phaseout spiked by nearly 20 points, though it quickly leveled off within the months after the accident.99 Holmberg and Hedberg note additionally that 56 99 energy policy," Swedish National Election Studies Program, 2011: 6, pp. 6, 14-16.
among western European nations that use nuclear energy, like Germany and the United Kingdom, in terms of overall positive attitudes toward the technology.100 Party platforms : How this support for nuclear power translates to ) was borne out of the anti-nuclear referendum held in 1980 and is explicitly against nuclear power in any form, though with a majority of Swedes supporting ), the current center-right coalition government in power, put forth a proposal in 2010 to overturn the 1980 referendum that called for a phaseout of nuclear power. One of the parties in the Alliansen, the Center Party (Centerpartiet), formerly opposed nuclear power development and growth but subsequently decided to support the proposal but still considers nuclear waste to be one of many "environmental problems that threaten[s] the survival of57 100 Holmberg and Hedberg, p. 17.
Figure 3.3: Green party support in Sweden has increased while support for nuclear power has as well.101mankind."102 (Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti, or SAP) supported keeping the phaseout in place.103 despite strong support for nuclear power issomething that does not seem to 0 2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 2002 2006 2010 percentage of votesSwedish elections 58 101 All Swedish election returns are taken from Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrn) and are available at http://www.scb.se. 102 Centerpartiet, "Statement of general policies," 2001, http://www.centerpartiet.se/Anpassad-information/Other-languages/ (accessed 17 103 Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti, "Party program of the Social Democratic Party," 6 November 2001, http://www.socialdemokraterna.se/
either under the SAP, who ruled Sweden from 1996 to 2006, or under the current center-right Alliansen that has been in power since 2006, so their ability to enact governmental legislation has been severely limited. The United States Public opinion : r ecent polling data concerning the construction of new nuclear power plants has been very hit or miss. While a July 2008 Rasmussen poll indicated that a majority of Americans favored the construction of new nuclear power plants by a 52-31 split,104 an ABC News/ Stanford University/Planet Green poll conducted at the same time indicated that Americans do not support building new nuclear power plants by a margin of 53 to 44.105 But how have Americans reacted to the idea of new construction of nuclear power stations after Fukushima? It really depends on who is asked and when. A poll released in April 2011 that was conducted by the Associated Press showed 60 percent of respondents were against building more nuclear 59 104 Rasmussen Reports telephone poll with 1,000 respondents conducted on 25 July 2008, http://poll.orspub.com 105 ABC News/Stanford University (California)/Planet Green telephone poll with 1,000 respondents conducted from 23 July 2008, http://poll.orspub.com/
power plants at that time,106 from The Economist favor of constructing new plants to 38 percent against.107 The Economist and regular polling since 2010; their analyses showed a slight uptick in pro-nuclear responses in 2010 but a marked decline after the Japanese tsunami in April 2011 Looking at further polling data from 2001 to 2010 in California Contrastingly, many in America seem to adhere to the principle of nuclear power plants. While those asked may say they support the construction of nuclear power plants on a general or big picture level, they would simultaneously oppose their construction in areas near their homes, schools or supported the same poll, 58 percent of respondents opposed the construction60 106 Associated Press telephone poll with 1,001 respondents conducted from 24 / (accessed 15 February 2012). 107 The Economist 5 April 2011, http://poll.orspub.com/ (accessed 15 February 2012)
Figure 3.4: While respondents to these polls conducted by supported increased construction of nuclear power plants through 2010, 2011 showed a decline, perhaps due to lingering worries following events at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi reactor. 108construction of new nuclear power stations (to 45 percent against) while, in the s of nuclear power plants "in [their] town or city."109 roughly 36 percent of Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear power station, 15 30 45 60 75 February 2010 April 2011 Would you approve or disapprove of building more nuclear power plants to generate electricity?percentagetime period No61 108The Economist 2011, http://poll.orspub.com/ (accessed 15 February 2012). 109 / (accessed 15 February 2012).
110with ten percent living within 25 miles of one.111 30 35 40 45 50 55 602/2001 5/2001 6/2001 7/2008 7/2010 Do you support the building of new nuclear power plants in California?percentagetime period No/Disagree62 110 Sources: telephone poll with 579 respondents, conducted from 14 February 2001 (2/2001); Field Research Corporation telephone poll with telephone poll with 1,541 respondents, conducted from 23 June 2011 (6/2011); Field Research Corporation telephone poll with 809 respondents, conducted from 8 July 2008 (7/2008); Field Research Corporation telephone poll with 1,390 respondents, conducted from 22 June July 2010 (7/2010), http://poll.orspub.com/ (accessed 15 February 2012). 111 Die Zeit, "How many people live near a nuclear power plant in the USA?",
nuclear energy policy, where, if any nominal anti-nuclear movement exists, it is balanced by an unwillingness to publicly protest, instead focusing on creating legislative logjams (i.e., telling a local representative not to allow a nuclear plant near one's home despite the potential for supporting nuclear power overall) to place.112 Party platforms : Green parties in the United States have not been highly successful. At present, no representative113 or senator114 in Congress is a member of the Green Party, nor are any governors members.115 Instead, green politics have mainly been relegated to the local level, perhaps due to the electoral Duverger, the United States (and any other country sharing its plurality-driven system) will always only have two main political parties in the system; with one in power while the other opposes, American political parties are largely unable to 63 112 Kitschelt, p. 68. 113 United States, Directory of members of the United States House of 114 United States, Directory of members of the United States Senate, 115 National Governors Association, "Current governors,"
be single-issue parties for fear of alienating large swaths of the electorate, while countries such as Germany are able to have political parties such as Bndnis '90/ electoral system.116 However, just because the nominal green movement has lacked success in the United States does not mean that environmental issues have not made their way into the consciousness of either major political party. Both the Democratic117 and Republican118 parties cite a need for energy independence and increased use of renewable energy sources in their respective 2008 party platforms ahead of seemingly liberal party119 green movement, is the only one of the two that does not mention nuclear power anywhere in its manifesto, thereby neither endorsing nor condemning it (though arguably recent actions by the Obama administration, such as the Vogtle loan guarantees mentioned in the next chapter, would indicate a tacit support of nuclear power). In contrast, the Republican Party manifesto includes a section promoting the use of nuclear power as a stepping stone to achieving greater 64 116Party Politics and Pressure Groups 117 Democratic Party of the United States, "Renewing America's promise," 2008. 118 Republican Party of the United States, "2008 Republican platform," 2008. 119 Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed., s.v. "Democratic Party."
energy independence, which is not consistent with typical aims of green parties.120 Attempting to argue that there is a correlation between anti-nuclear sentiments in the four test countries and a subsequent causation of limited Polling data can be skewed very easily based on the wording of the questions asked a question such as "do you support an increased use of nuclear power?" may elicit different responses than "do you support an increased use of clean nuclear power?" Unexpected events, like the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters, may also cause poll data to change in an instant, making the medium itself incredibly While public opinion polling in France expresses a general reticence toward nuclear power, EDF continues to maintain and operate power stations that generate an overwhelming majority of the country's electricity through nuclear power. In Germany, however, where polling also indicates widespread opposition to nuclear energy, the sentiment has been large enough to propel a green party into national prominence and to accelerate a supportive of nuclear energy while their support for their domestic green party 65 120 Republican Party of the United States, "2008 Republican platform."
continues to climb somewhat counterintuitively type of green movement, as its domestic green party has no major representation in any form. Because public opinion is so disparate and because the policy actions taken in each of the four countries are different, establishing a causal link between polling data and nuclear energy policy is nigh impossible. Similarly, green movements and ecologically focused political parties in these four countries being invited to take part in government cabinets. But these parties have yet to been the leaders of a government in any of these countries, meaning that much of the analysis must focus on major parties to determine how salient nuclear power has been as a political issue. As seen in Sweden, party positions on nuclear power can change over time the Centerpartiet went from being steadfastly opposed to nuclear power from the 1970s through the 1990s to wanting to Party in the United States went from having a platform explicitly opposed to expanding nuclear power in 1984 to one that does not even mention the topic at all in 2008.121 electoral issue in any of these countries, and given major, power-wielding parties' 66 121 Democratic Party of the United States, "1984 Democratic party platform," 1984.
willingnesses to change their stances on nuclear energy as a source of electricity generation, it is hard to argue that public opinion or environmental movements have much of an effect on a country's domestic nuclear energy policy.67
CHAPTER FOUR Money, money, money:122 economic factors in nuclear power development Does nuclear energy make economic sense? Some would argue that it wildly as the price of other fuel sources like oil. Nuclear plants are also shown to However, nuclear power plants have high levels of upfront cost it is not very cheap to build a new nuclear plant, and the initial price takes many years to recoup. struggling to get out of, such a large expense may not be very attractive at this time. Are these costs impacted by government regulations or by ownership requirements stating who is allowed to own and operate what type of power plant? What about the cost of reprocessing and disposing of nuclear fuel once it has been used? As countries strive to meet their post-Kyoto emissions targets and reduce their overall carbon footprints, these questions become important ones to ask. Over 130 nuclear power stations are currently in the planning stages across the 68 122 ABBA, Polar Records, 1976.
world, with another 250+ plants under consideration for construction.123 World Nuclear Association, a consortium of utilities corporations that operate nuclear power plants, notes that "[rising] gas prices and greenhouse constraints on coal have combined to put nuclear power back on the agenda for projected new capacity in both Europe and North America,"124 of these plans have been put on hold. Accordingly, this chapter will examine the development of nuclear power across the four test countries and look into the impetuses that spurred them into embracing or later disavowing nuclear energy as a legitimate source of power. Following, the chapter will explore the economics of nuclear power in each country and how the historical narratives of the test subjects have thereby shaped domestic energy markets to points where nuclear power, on one extreme, becomes a de facto source of national energy and, on another, an outdated relic of a bygone era. argument that will be considered when looking at each country and its willingness to develop a nuclear power infrastructure. Each of these elements 69 123 World Nuclear Association, "Plans for new nuclear reactors worldwide," +power (accessed 19 February 2012). 124 Ibid.
plays an important role when considering how economically viable a wide-scale nuclear infrastructure would be in any given country; arguably, some may play a bigger role in one country over another: 1. How utilities are managed in a country may play a role in how readily nuclear power is adopted. Stateshareholders are taxpayers; accordingly, the state can bear the cost of any overruns or any losses made on electricity generation. Because of this, a country with state ownership of the power grid may be more receptive to using nuclear power because the economic forecasting takes more of a long-run approach. With industrial structure comes three other cost elements to be considered with nuclear power development: 1.1. Capital investment and capital costs. Constructing a new nuclear power plant can be a very expensive operation. For example, the Vogtle nuclear plant currently being constructed in Georgia is set to cost upwards $13 billion simply in total construction costs.125 A state-owned utility can use the country's credit rating as an 70 125The Guardian, 9 April 2008, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/10/ nuclear.nuclearpower (accessed 17 April 2012).
advantage when negotiating loan packages with private banks that wish to partner in the construction of the plant. In addition, a have an advantage in funding its plants. Capital costs may be exacerbated based on the location of the plant as well, with the cost of the reactor itself remaining constant worldwide.1261.2. Operational costs. nuclear fuels such as uranium is volatile, albeit less so than oil. in January 2011 before falling to roughly $51/lb by the end of the year, a price point that has remained through April 2012.127 Otherwise, the general cost structure for nuclear power plants remains competitive and stable over time, according to the International Energy Agency, but when factoring in the capital investment required, the price per kilowatt-hour is higher than 71 126 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power economics." 127 UxC, "Ux prices," 19 April 2012, http://www.uxc.com/review/
that of traditional coal or natural gas plants.128 However, once the plant is built, the cost of construction should be considered a sunk cost regardless of the source of capital investment. 1.3. Reprocessing capabilities and disposal costs. Due to its toxicity, spent nuclear fuel needs to go somewhere when it can no longer be used. Countries that have the capability to reprocess their own fuel may be more apt to adopting nuclear power given the cost involved with sending nuclear fuel abroad for storage and/or reprocessing and the political implications for maintaining stockpiles of toxic nuclear fuel within a country's borders. 2. Resource endowment and alternative sources of energy If a country is in a position where other forms of electricity generation, such as coal, natural gas or hydroelectric power, are plentiful, it may be more cost effective for them to concentrate on those sources of energy as opposed to creating a nuclear infrastructure. France Industrial structure : All of France's nuclear power is produced by the EDF 72 128 International Energy Agency, "Projected Costs of Generating Electricity 2010," 2010.
following World War II.129 EDF concentrated its efforts in developing coal and hydropower as the country's primary sources of energy until the early 1970s when the aforementioned oil shocks spurred the government to direct the corporation to create a nuclear power capacity. EDF was forced to become a limited company (i.e., one with publicly traded shares) in 2004 in light of a European Union mandate,130 but the French government still holds a supermajority of outstanding shares, with a total of nearly 84.5 percent held by the state.131 with eight percent coming from direct government investment and the remainder from commercial loans; the group is able to provide nuclear power to consumers at a rate of roughly 0.043/kWh.132 France has used its position as a leading producer of nuclear power to 73 129 lectricit de France, "1946: history of the EDF Group," 2010, 2012). 130 lectricit de France, "1990 to today and beyond: history of the EDF Group," 131 lectricit de France, "Shareholding policy EDF Group," 2010, http://shareholders-and-investors.edf.com/edf-share/shareholding132 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power in France."
place of enriched uranium. Rather than disposing of used fuel sources, such as the plutonium and uranium used in nuclear reactors, they can be sent to manner.133 nascent or well-developed nuclear programs to continue to operate them in a cost-effective manner. It also entices these countries to send their nuclear waste to France for reprocessing so they do not have to do it themselves.134 Resource endowment and use : very little of French electricity comes from oil and natural gas; indeed, hydroelectric power provides the second-most amount of electricity to French consumers, and that is only 11 percent of their total electricity production. However, EDF has announced plans to expand hydropower production from the 20 gigawatts it currently produces to a larger amount given hydropower's 74 133 http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf29.html (accessed 17 April 2012). 134 Peter Fairley, "Nuclear wasteland," February 2007, http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/nuclear-wasteland/0 (accessed 22 February 2012).
reliability and France's ability to sustain more hydroelectric plants with its vast amount of rivers and streams that can be dammed.135 Estimates indicate that France is a net consumer of traditional sources of energy such as oil and natural gas because the country simply does not possess large amounts of either within its borders. Figures from 2010 show that France ranks thirteenth in the world when it comes to oil consumption and sixteenth in production of either.136 137 Given its relative lack of resource endowment when it comes to oiland natural gas-based electricity generation, it makes sense for the French to invest heavily in nuclear power as an alternative. Germany Industrial structure : Unlike in France, where a monopoly exists on nuclear power production, German nuclear power plants are operated by four different 75135 lectricit de France, "Strategy Hydropower," http://businesses.edf.com/generation/hydropower-and-renewable-energy/ hydropower/our-strategy-43772.html (accessed 29 April 2012). 136 Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook, 10 April 2012, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ (accessed 16 April 2012). 137push," The 3 June 2008, http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/ op-eds/the-reality-of-frances-aggressive-nuclear-power-push (accessed 22 February 2012).
Vattenfall (which operates two) and E.ON (which operates six).138 RWE is a publicly traded company, with most of its stock held by private and institutional investors,139 while EnBW is partially owned by the German federal state of Baden-Wrttemberg140 and E.ON is publicly traded.141 Vattenfall, by contrast, is completely state-run; 100 percent of its shares are owned by the Swedish government, which "has stated that it has no intention to 142 In 2011, Vattenfall reported an "earnings change" of a loss of 10.5 billion SEK (about $1.59 billion or 1.2 billion) directly tied to Germany's decision to close its two reactors in the country as part of the suit against Germany in an American court to seek compensation for the closing, 76 138 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power in Germany." 139 RWE, "RWE AG Shareholder structure," http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/ 2012). 140 EnBW, "EnBW AG: Investors shareholder structure," 2012, 141 E.ON, "E.ON Power and gas investors stock shareholder structure," 2012, 142
143 EnBW is doing the same, with some estimates showing Germany being on the hook for more than 10 billion (roughly $13.9 billion) in compensation.144 Other estimates show that the transition from nuclear power to other renewable energies will cost the public and private sectors upwards of 200 billion (roughly $290 billion) in the next ten years.145 Were in lawsuits against the government; the cost would simply be borne by the taxpayers instead. In exchange for agreeing to shutter the country's nuclear industry, the government instituted a series of funding initiatives to foster growth in the renewable energy sector, including new taxes including one on fuel used in nuclear reactors, which brought in roughly 2.3 billion/year or 0.16/kWh (roughly $3.08 billion or $0.21/kWh), further payments by utilities to the government totaling 300 million (roughly $402 million) in both 2011 & 2012 and 200 million (roughly $267.94 million) annually from 2013 to 2016, with these lump sums to be supplanted by a 0.90/kWh ($1.21/kWh) surcharge on nuclear 77 143 144 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power in Germany." 145turnaround."
power produced from 2016 onward.146 taxes will further spur utilities to hasten construction of non-nuclear renewable plants by making nuclear power increasingly more expensive ahead of its phaseout. Resource endowment and use : EC data from 2004 show that Germany generated ten percent of its total energy from renewable sources even though contrast with the 12 percent of production coming from nuclear power, which provided 32 percent of total electricity generated.147 February 2012 indicates that while nuclear power generation has decreased four percent to provide 28 percent of German electricity, renewable energy production has only increased one percent in seven years, making the taxation scheme look a bit less effective than originally planned.148 Unlike France, which has nuclear fuel reprocessing plants in use, Germany has none; one was in operation in East the second was planned but never constructed.14978 146turnaround." 147 European Commission, "Germany energy mix fact sheet," January 2007. 148 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear power in Germany." 149 Energy
Germany is heavily investing in wind and solar power stations to make up for the eventual loss of power caused by the nuclear phaseout. But outside economists have also questioned Germany's proposals to have 20 percent of the country's electricity generated by renewable sources of energy by 2020. Peter Zeihan, an economist with political science think tank Stratfor, argues that this goal "is not cost possible" given that "nuclear power is less than one-third [the cost] of wind power and less than one-twentieth the cost of solar power."150 Sweden Industrial structure Vattenfall (which is staterun), E.ON Sweden AB (which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the aforementioned publicly-traded E.ON Group) and Fortum Oy (which is majority-owned by various elements of the Finnish government151) have been contracted to operate and to manage Sweden's ten nuclear reactors, which in country also levies a 0.67/kWh ($0.90/kWh) tax on nuclear power production, 79 150 Peter Zeihan, "Portfolio: the future of German energy," Stratfor, 1 June 2011, http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20110601-portfolio-future-german-energy (accessed 11 April 2012). 151 http://www.fortum.com/en/investors/share-information/major-shareholders/pages/ default.aspx (accessed on 25 February 2012).
which offsets one-third of the cost of nuclear power generation by bringing in about 435 million (roughly $582.8 million) annually.152 Like Germany, Sweden does not have any nuclear fuel reprocessing plants, opting instead to store spent nuclear fuel underground at various sites throughout the country, usually near plants themselves. Other spent fuels have development either domestically or abroad. Interestingly, the government collects a tax on the nuclear waste with revenue going to the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, the government agency which regulates the nuclear industry.153 Resource endowment and use : In recent years, total production of electricity via nuclear energy has decreased somewhat, from 227 terawatt hours the same period. It should be noted, however, that Swedish energy use and possibly justifying the drop in nuclear power electricity production as that sector was the primary one that saw a decrease in production. Even still, nuclear power 80 152 World Nuclear Association, "Nuclear energy in Sweden." 153 Ibid.
However, renewable sources of energy have generated more electricity in Sweden than nuclear power in 14 separate years from 1990 to 2009. Relatedly, gas turbines have not produced any measurable amount of electricity for the Additionally, though Sweden trails only France in terms of total amount of per capita kWh produced by nuclear power, Sweden still produces more per capita kWh of electricity by hydropower than it does by nuclear power.154 Indeed, Swedish electricity, with nuclear power coming in close behind. As Sweden has no proven oil reserves and given its past as the largest per capita importer of oil in the world, the reliance on renewables such as hydropower and nuclear power make sense.155The United StatesIndustrial structure in the United States are owned by private utility corporations, with the 81 154 Statens energimyndighet (Swedish Energy Agency), "Energilget i siffror 155 Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook.
exceptions being some plants under the jurisdiction of the federally-owned 156 and some which have partial ownership from local utility corporations which use the plants' capacities.157 the federal government maintains an active role in the jurisdiction and inspection of the country's nuclear power plants, and provides loan assistance and loan guarantees to corporations looking to build or refurbish nuclear power plants. approved an allocation to the Department of Energy of $768,663,000 for "the purchase, construction, and acquisition of plant and capital equipment, and other expenses necessary for nuclear energy activities in carrying out the 158which would ostensibly allow the Department to assist companies and groups interested in pursuing building new nuclear power facilities. Southern Company, construction plans on its Vogtle reactor complex in Georgia, with a stated aim of beginning operations at the plant in 2016;159 whether that goal will be met 82 156 157 Nuclear Energy Institute, "U.S. Nuclear Power Plant Operators, Owners and Holding Companies," 2012. 158 House of Representatives, Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, H.R. 2055 (2011). 159 report," 11 August 2011, http://southerncompany.mediaroom.com/index.php?
remains to be seen, but the NRC lent approval to Southern's plans in February 2012.160 However, despite advocacy from the government to build more nuclear States only possesses one plant for reprocessing nuclear materials after presidential directives from Presidents Ford and Carter halted the country's capability for enriching plutonium.161 reasons, according to The In an article published in the summer of 2011, the combination of increasing costs of construction for nuclear facilities (estimated to have either tripled or quadrupled since 2001), the credit crunch caused by the 2007 recession and a lack of realistic climate change legislation in the United States all caused utilities to rethink their nuclear energy goals.162 Indeed, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported that while there were 17 total applications to build or expand nuclear power stations between 2007 and 2009, no applications were received between 2010 and 2011; of 83 160 BBC News, "First nuclear reactors since 1970s approved in US," 9 February 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16973865 (accessed 17 February 2012). 161 Anthony Andrews, "Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing: U.S. Policy Development," 27 162The vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 8-13, July/August 2011.
companies with no plans to restart.163 Current energy policy also dictates that 164 development. Resource endowment and use : Unlike the other countries examined, the United States is capable of using other resources on an incredibly wide scale to and produces more natural gas than any other country, accounting for the large amount of natural gas used in electricity production.165 country is able to produce over 1 billion short tons of coal each year across more than half of the country's states.166 84 163 Nuclear Regulatory Commission, "Expected new nuclear power plant applications," 11 October 2011, http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/new164 World Nuclear Association, "US nuclear energy policy." 165 Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook. 166 Energy Information Administration, "Where our coal comes from," 20 August April 2012).
As the price of natural gas and petroleum continues to fall, companies would be heavily impacted by the construction of any new nuclear facilities,167 and the absence of any kind of carbon taxation or regulation scheme stations and existing alternative energy sources.168 United States Energy Information Administration has calculated that advanced nuclear power costs less per megawatt-hour (mWh) than offshore wind farms 169), largescale photovoltaic and thermal solar farms, coal-powered power stations using carbon capture sequestration techniques and natural gas power stations with conventional combustion turbines all a combination of renewable and currently used types of power systems gaining attention and popularity in the country.17085 167 The New York Times 7 December 2010, http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/nuclearrenaissance-is-short-on-largess/ (accessed 7 February 2012). 168 169 Nantucket Sound," http://www.capewind.org/index.php (accessed 8 February 2012). 170 resources in the annual energy outlook 2011," November 2010, http://www.eia.gov/
by inference, in the three other test countries may change very soon, though. According to The the costs for new nuclear power stations are only going to increase following the events at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor after Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami. New safety and security measures will have to be considered for any nascent construction projects and completely up to code, similar to what happened in the lead up to the accident at in particular is that the design used at Fukushima is an American one, and it is slated to be used in a majority of newly proposed nuclear power stations in the highlighted in Japan, preferring instead to scrap their plans altogether. Alternatively, more countries wishing to expand their nuclear energy capacity may turn to French-designed reactors in hopes they do not have the same shortcomings shown in previous American blueprints; this in turn would be a 86
boon for the French government and EDF, it would harm American-based nuclear contractors like Westinghouse.171 reprocessing do not seem to play a factor in the overall development of a nuclear power infrastructure. While Sweden lacks the capability to reprocess spent nuclear fuel rods, it is still one of the largest producers of nuclear power in the world. Germany, meanwhile, also does not have any reprocessing plants, but is planning on exiting the nuclear power sector altogether. Both France and the United States have the ability to reprocess nuclear fuel, but the United States has, until recently, been unable to construct any new nuclear power plants since the 1970s. As operational costs of nuclear power reactors remain relatively constant throughout the world, it is hard to state that they play much of a role in the development of a nuclear power infrastructure. Fuel prices remain within certain, known price ranges and the price per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated remains relatively constant over the lifetime of a plant and can be easily ascertained before a plant is proposed or goes online. 87 171
the aforementioned Vogtle complex in Georgia is to receive a staggering $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees172 programs to any private-sector nuclear development due to a heavily-regulated utilities market, thereby meaning any increases in nuclear capacity have to come solely at the hands of the government. As a result, the claim that the industrial structure of a country's electricity grid is the primary factor in the relative development of a nuclear power the four countries examined throughout, only France and Sweden, two countries with heavily or completely state-owned nuclear power infrastructures, have seen a consistent use of nuclear power throughout the past forty years. Where the private market has been left to supply nuclear power, stagnation, such as in the United States and in Germany, takes place. 88 172 Georgia," The New York Times, 16 February 2010, https://www.nytimes.com/ 2010/02/17/business/energy-environment/17nukes.html (accessed 16 February 2012).
While the positive reinforcement of loan packages can be placed on the table, no real negative reinforcements, such as a carbon tax or an emissions trading power companies and other utilities to move away from traditional coal or given enough positive reasons to build new nuclear power stations even though they may be more cost effective in the long run, according to a 2006 article in the Journal of Business Ethics, which argues the only way to truly expand nuclear power usage and acceptance is to make it a completely open and deregulated market.173 In short, because businesses know that, to quote Keynes, "in the long run, we are all dead,"174 the absence of federal aid and/or public-private partnerships that would assist public reception toward using atoms for peace, often make the construction of new nuclear power stations not worth the time, trouble and effort.89 173 174, 1923.
CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions and analysis Nuclear power remains a controversial topic of discussion throughout the world. While it has the potential to provide millions of people with relatively clean and cost-effective electricity, many remain concerned over the proper methods if any exist for disposing of nuclear waste, as well as what could happen if they live near a nuclear plant that experiences an accident or meltdown. were selected due to their similar socio-economic backgrounds as well as their use of nuclear power as a source of producing electricity. While France, Germany, Sweden and the United States each developed its own domestic nuclear energy policy soon after the idea of "atoms for peace" was developed, with each country starting nuclear research programs throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, the trajectories those policies took differed.90
an attempt to discover whether some countries were more receptive than others to pressures from outside interest groups be they proor anti-nuclear when it came to crafting policy. In France, though, increased green representation in the government would not necessarily matter its government is structured in such government policies and directives, and the parliament is more or less expected to back his choices; similarly, research indicates that an unwillingness by the greens to enter into coalition governments with potentially sympathetic allies has alienated them from the political mainstream, further hampering their efforts to candidate who receives the most votes in an election, irrespective if this is a majority, wins. As a result, there is little room for third parties, such as the domestic green party, to achieve any sort of prominence as the system defaults to a two-party rule. In Germany, coalition governments are often needed at the federal level, often putting the domestic green party in a position to be a player in the overall governance of the country. However, whether the greens are put into a position of power largely depends on how willing the main parties are to acquiesce to their policy conditions, such as the nuclear energy phaseout they 91
pushed in 2000 through when part of the Schrder government. In Sweden, green party representation has increased over the past decade, but like in France, the prime minister (in Sweden) or president (in France) in power has a great deal of latitude in creating policy, thereby rendering the greens' concerns mostly moot unless they are invited to be part of a coalition government. Data concerning public opinion polling and the overall strengths and weaknesses of domestic green parties and/or environmental movements were looked at second. Public opinion concerning nuclear power in each country has wavered throughout time. In recent years, Swedes have come to embrace nuclear power as a viable source of alternative energy; this stands in sharp contrast from views held just a generation ago, when the country voted to phase out nuclear power entirely. However, their support for nuclear power contrasts sharply with an increased parliamentary representation from their domestic green party, which is avowedly anti-nuclear. Germans, on the other hand, have consistently been against nuclear power, perhaps due to the country maintaining nuclear waste and reprocessing facilities and perhaps due to experiencing fallout after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Potentially correlated is the rise in support for the domestic green party during federal and land (state) elections. American support polls have been taken, but generally, those in the United States support nuclear 92
energy so long as plants generating it are located nowhere near where they live or work; green party salience, however, is incredibly low, and the main left-ofcenter party in the country neither explicitly supports or opposes nuclear power electricity generation, but does not elect domestic green party representatives to its parliament very often. prove helpful in predicting the salience of green or environmental movements, they tend to be too volatile to use as markers in the long-term. For example, note how Swedes became very heavily in favor of nuclear power in recent years despite decades of opposition. Americans have been, to paraphrase John Kerry, for nuclear power before they were against it, while the French have been lukewarm toward the concept despite being heavily reliant on nuclear power for their energy. Only the Germans, who have been steadfastly opposed to nuclear power, have been able to translate that opposition into actionable policy. Green party representation in government has not shown to be as reliable a predictor of nuclear energy policy either: Swedes have elected increasing numbers of parliamentarians from their domestic green party as support for nuclear power has risen, for example, and the United States lacks green party representation at 93
any major level of government and a major political party willing to speak out represent their interests, have not been effective in voicing opposition to expanded or continued usage of nuclear power. Again, only the Germans have been able to have a strong, federal green movement that has been able to enact receptive) a government is to outside pressure, in each country's political opportunity structures. If there are no strong voices on either the proor antithe discussion. Economic factors in development, such as whether the state took an active role in promoting or expanding nuclear power usage through the use of reprocessing facilities, the usage of other renewable energy sources and the general energy portfolio of a country were considered last. From an economic stations, and to this day the state maintains a heavy hand in overall nuclear 94
development. In contrast, Germany opted for a mixed market utilities industry with a majority of the overall market, including nuclear power plants, held by similar to France and to Sweden, but decided to shed itself of the responsibility is completely and solely privately held. Of the four countries, only France and the United States have the capacity to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and other material, while Germany and Sweden must export theirs elsewhere. Each of the four has also invested in renewable sources of energy, but Sweden has done the most to embrace it as a viable form of electricity generation and generates more electricity from said sources than from nuclear energy a feat no other country accomplished. After examining each of these factors, it would appear as though economic factors associated with nuclear power development are the biggest predictor of how readily a country will adopt and subsequently maintain a utility grid. Because both the French and Swedish models rely heavily on state through taxation or through other surcharges. In countries where the private 95
market is more directly involved, such as in Germany or the United States, there may be more reticence to enter the market without guarantees of support from the government. In Germany, this was seen through the implementation of a mixed market with private and public ownership; in the United States, this was achieved recently through a myriad of federal loan guarantees and various tax country's energy portfolio from chapter 1, it is apparent that the United States and Germany, which by and large lack state ownership of the nuclear energy sector, have less than one-quarter of their overall electricity needs met by nuclear power. France and Sweden, though, have much larger percentages of their electricity generation met by nuclear power production, and the state owns and actively controls the energy sector. As political opportunity structures are not the primary drivers behind nuclear power development and, rather, industrial structures are, Kitschelt's 96
of each country's utility infrastructure. Robust resource endowment (uses nuclear power, weak) endowment (embraces nuclear power, strong) State ownership of utility infrastructure (embraces nuclear power, strong) Private ownership of utility infrastructure (uses nuclear power, weak) Sweden (S,W) France (S,S) United States (W,W) Germany (W,S)In this schematic, four categories are established, comparing the countries' industrial structures to their relative resource endowments; descriptive values are assigned to relate to the level of enthusiasm toward nuclear power that would be expected. A state-owned utility is keener to embrace nuclear power and, as a result, a ranking of "strong" has been assigned to countries with such an industrial sector; a "weak" ranking has been assigned to those with primarily privately-held power grids. A lack of resource endowment would compel a country to embrace nuclear power and, accordingly, a further "strong" ranking has been assigned to those lacking in natural resources (with, again, a "weak" ranking being assigned to those with robust resources). In this model, the strength of state-ownership outweighs the strength of having a scant resource discussed in chapter four.97
France, which has a state-owned utility grid and lacks the means to produce electricity domestically through other means, such as coal or natural gas, is seen as embracing nuclear power enthusiastically and has two "strong" rankings on the metric developed; it has embraced nuclear power the most heavily. Sweden is also a heavy user of nuclear power due to its state-owned utilities and subsequently has a "strong" ranking, but receives a "weak" ranking as well because of a robust hydroelectric program available for power generation. Germany lacks a state-owned industrial structure for electricity generation and receives a "weak" ranking as a result, but because of its relatively small resource endowment, still picks up a "strong" ranking and would be expected to use nuclear power in some capacity. Finally, the United States has expected to use nuclear power in any respect based on this model; this in turn may help to explain why the United States has moved slowly in building new nuclear power facilities. Other economic factors, such as a country's overall energy portfolio, may power investment, as countries rich in other resources such as coal or natural gas 98
a country with robust natural resources, has been reticent to embrace nuclear power, but it also does not explain why a country like Sweden, with vast capabilities and infrastructure for hydropower development, has done so. Because of this, the industrial structure argument of state-owned versus privately-held utilities is given more credence in the aforementioned model over that of resource consideration. Given that Sweden has enthusiastically welcomed nuclear power while the United States has not despite that the latter can reprocess nuclear fuel while the former cannot the presence of such facilities can be ruled out as a factor in this analysis. In conclusion, the most important variable in predicting a country's willingness to embrace nuclear power as a means of electricity production is utilities are more likely to invest in nuclear power given the cost savings in the long-term and because the large upfront costs can be borne easily by taxpayers. Privately-held corporations are less likely to extend such a vast amount of capital to building new nuclear energy plants because it will negatively affect their endowment of a country should also be considered, as countries with a robust capability of generating electricity from the relatively inexpensive sources of coal 99
and/or natural gas will not be as keen on using nuclear power given the price involved.100
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Polls Cited ABC News/Stanford University (California)/Planet Green telephone poll with 1,000 respondents conducted from 23 July 2008, http://poll.orspub.com/ (accessed 5 May 2010).Associated Press telephone poll with 1,001 respondents conducted from 24 March 2011, http://poll.orspub.com/ (accessed 15 February 2012).The Economist/YouGov online poll with 1,000 respondents conducted from 2 April 2011, http://poll.orspub.com/ (accessed 15 February 2012)Three The Economist/YouGov online polls with 1,000 respondents each, conducted from 31 January February 2010, 6 March 2010 and 2 April 2011, http://poll.orspub.com/ (accessed 15 February 2012). Los Angeles Times telephone poll with 579 respondents, conducted from 14 15 February 2001 (2/2001); Field Research Corporation telephone poll with 1,015 respondents, conducted from 11 May 2001 (5/2001); Los Angeles Times telephone poll with 1,541 respondents, conducted from 23 June 2011 (6/2011); Field Research Corporation telephone poll with 809 respondents, conducted from 8 July 2008 (7/2008); Field Research Corporation telephone poll with 1,390 respondents, conducted from 22 June July 2010 (7/2010), http://poll.orspub.com/ (accessed 15 February 2012). Quinnipiac University telephone poll with 2,069 registered voters conducted from 22 March 2011, http://poll.orspub.com/ (accessed 15 February 2012). Rasmussen Reports telephone poll with 1,000 respondents conducted on 25 July 2008, http://poll.orspub.com/ (accessed 5 May 2010). 109