Stanford scholars make the case for continued nuclear investment in their new book via Stanford

Jeremy Carl and David Fedor, research scholars at the Hoover Institution, discuss the state of nuclear energy in the U.S. They analyze nuclear’s benefits as well as the economic and policy challenges it faces.

Nuclear energy, seemingly, has attributes Americans would want in an energy source: It does not produce carbon emissions – which are harmful to the environment – its costs are predictable and there are added security advantages.

In a new book, Hoover Institution scholars Jeremy Carl and David Fedor argue that nuclear energy is widely misunderstood. (Image credit: Michael Utech / Getty Images)

Yet, U.S. nuclear power plants continue to close, reducing nuclear energy’s potential impact.

In their new book, Keeping the Lights on at America’s Nuclear Power Plants, Jeremy Carl and David Fedor of the Hoover Institutionexamine America’s energy landscape and nuclear’s dwindling presence in it. They discuss nuclear energy’s benefits, Americans’ misunderstood beliefs about it and how nuclear can regain a prominent foothold in the energy marketplace.


Did the Fukushima disaster have an impact on the use and expansion of nuclear energy in the U.S.?

Fedor: Yes and no. The American policy and regulatory response to Fukushima was measured and prudent compared to dramatic steps taken in other countries. Germany, for instance, worked toward shutting down their entire nuclear fleet, which resulted in additional coal-fired power imports. Some additional regulatory and safety measures were adopted, which along with post-9/11 security upgrades probably contributed to the cost pressures facing the industry. It’s important to remember that Fukushima was almost a worst-case scenario – the fourth most powerful earthquake in recorded history, followed by a huge tsunami. More than 15,000 people were killed in that disaster, but none from radiation.

Fukushima may have shifted U.S. public opinion on nuclear power and that has been seized upon with some success by anti-nuclear advocacy groups targeting a few specific plants for shutdown in California and in New York. Perhaps surprisingly, people’s attitudes toward nuclear are not particularly partisan. A recent Pew poll found a spread of just 17 percentage points separating liberal Democrats from conservative Republicans in their support for expanding nuclear power – a difference of opinion even narrower than that for wind power, often cited for its cross-party appeal.

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3 Responses to Stanford scholars make the case for continued nuclear investment in their new book via Stanford

  1. yukimiyamotodepaul says:

    Quite outdated policy.

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