Energy and Resources Group
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720
Institutional Affiliation: University of California at Berkeley
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2019||The Private and External Costs of Germany's Nuclear Phase-Out|
with , : w26598
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 exposur...