Wealer, Ben Bauer, Simon Landry, Nicolas Seiß, Hannah von Hirschhausen, Christian R.
Year of Publication:
DIW Data Documentation No. 93
Nuclear energy is among the most important innovations of the twentieth century, and it continues to play an important role in twenty-first century discussions. In particular, there is a debate about the potential contribution of nuclear power to policies of climate change mitigation and energy security in both, industrialized and emerging countries. In this context, many existing nuclear countries, and others considering entering the sector, are facing questions of how to structure organizational models for nuclear power, and what lessons to be learned from the past seven decades of civilian use of nuclear power. The objective of this Data Documentation is to trace the development of nuclear power since its beginnings, by providing both a technological and a country-specific perspective, to allow a better understanding of issues on nuclear power going forward. Our hypothesis, based on the early literature on nuclear power post World War 2, e.g., the Acheson- Lilienthal Report (1946), Lovins and Lovins (1980) but also a more recent survey of the literature (Hirschhausen 2017), is that nuclear power is the "child of scientific research and the military" (François Lévêque 2014, 212), the development of which follows an "economies-ofscope"- logic: nuclear power is developed for military and civilian purposes (e.g., electricity, medical services), and thus obeys no simple economic logic that could be expressed, e.g., in simple business investment calculus (Davis 2012). Rather than searching for an economic rationale where there is none, it is therefore instructive to analyze specific diffusion patterns of nuclear power, based on stylized organizational models, and going back to the origins in the middle of the last century. [...]