The Private and External Costs of Germany&Apos;S Nuclear Phase-Out

61 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2019 Last revised: 5 Sep 2021

See all articles by Stephen Jarvis

Stephen Jarvis

University of California, Berkeley - Energy and Resources Group

Olivier Deschenes

University of California, Santa Barbara - College of Letters & Science - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Akshaya Jha

Carnegie Mellon University

Date Written: December 2019

Abstract

Many countries have phased out nuclear electricity production in response to concerns about nuclear waste and the risk of nuclear accidents. This paper examines the impact of the shutdown of roughly half of the nuclear production capacity in Germany after the Fukushima accident in 2011. We use hourly data on power plant operations and a novel machine learning framework to estimate how plants would have operated differently if the phase-out had not occurred. We find that the lost nuclear electricity production due to the phase-out was replaced primarily by coal-fired production and net electricity imports. The social cost of this shift from nuclear to coal is approximately 12 billion dollars per year. Over 70% of this cost comes from the increased mortality risk associated with exposure to the local air pollution emitted when burning fossil fuels. Even the largest estimates of the reduction in the costs associated with nuclear accident risk and waste disposal due to the phase-out are far smaller than 12 billion dollars.

Suggested Citation

Jarvis, Stephen and Deschenes, Olivier and Jha, Akshaya, The Private and External Costs of Germany&Apos;S Nuclear Phase-Out (December 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3511308

Stephen Jarvis (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Energy and Resources Group ( email )

United States

Olivier Deschenes

University of California, Santa Barbara - College of Letters & Science - Department of Economics ( email )

UC Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Akshaya Jha

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
51
Abstract Views
438
rank
480,532
PlumX Metrics