Economics of Nuclear Power : Construction Costs and Safety Regulation

Abstract : This thesis studies the role of construction costs and safety regulation on nuclear power competitiveness. The analysis of the construction costs is based on the use of the actual data coming from the american and french nuclear fleet. In particular, we study different channels from which cost reductions might arise. We show that standardization is a key criterion for the economic competitiveness of nuclear power, first because the positive learning effects are conditional to the technology, this means that cost reductions will arise only if the same type of reactor is built several times, but also because it allows to reduce the cost indirectly through shorter construction lead-times. In the analysis of the role of safety regulation, we first asses the effect of the latest major nuclear accident (i.e Fukushima Dai-ichi) in the probability of occurrence of such an event and then the effects of the uncertainty regarding how safety care reduce the probability of a nuclear accident in setting safety standards under moral hazard and limited liability. We find that the standard will be stricter when the regulator is optimistic in the safety care effectiveness to reduce the risk of an accident, but simultaneously this policy might induce no compliance of the most inefficient operators.
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Lina Escobar. Economics of Nuclear Power : Construction Costs and Safety Regulation. Economies and finances. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014ENMP0093⟩. ⟨tel-01307916⟩

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