International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

Technological Risk Perception and Nuclear Power Costs. The Quantification of Uncertainty

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The cost of nuclear power has escalated significantly in recent years, confounding the optimistic projections of planners and contributing to a serious slowdown in the industry. In this paper we investigate the factors underlying nuclear cost escalation and specify a nonlinear regression technique that identifies costs caused by public and professional uncertainty about future technological performance as opposed to costs based on objective design and construction-related factors. Using multivariate analysis of variance we establish a positive relationship between costs related to uncertainty and such plant specific factors as size, age, and vintage (year of initial operation). Specifically, uncertainty and its associated costs are shown to be greater for larger plants with more advanced technology and to decrease as plants accumulate operating experience. This result suggests that the tendency in the industry toward rapid deployment of large plants with innovative technologies has had a deleterious impact on power generation costs. © 1982.

Publication Title

Technological Forecasting and Social Change

Publication Date

1-1-1982

Volume

21

Issue

3

First Page

185

Last Page

199

ISSN

0040-1625

DOI

10.1016/0040-1625(82)90049-X

Keywords

risk, risk perception, nuclear power

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