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How Much Precaution is Too Much? Evaluating Germany’s Nuclear Phaseout Decision in Light of the Events at Fukushima

Author:

John Moore

London School of Economics’ Institute of Public Affairs, GB
About John
2012 graduate of the M.P.A. in Public and Economic Policy
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Abstract

Through the lens of the precautionary principle, this essay evaluates Germany’s decision to prematurely phase-out nuclear power in light of the Fukushima Daiichi crisis in March 2011. Leading up to the crisis, nuclear power, which accounts for one-quarter of Germany’s electricity supply, was viewed by the German government as a low-carbon ‘bridge technology’ to help the country transition into a fully renewable political economy. The crisis changed this view, though, and led Germany’s Ethics Commission on Safe Energy Supply to quickly dismiss nuclear power’s many important benefits. After analyzing the Commission’s post-Fukushima report, this essay concludes that the phase-out decision represents a misguided and potentially damaging interpretation of the precautionary principle.

How to Cite: Moore, J., 2012. How Much Precaution is Too Much? Evaluating Germany’s Nuclear Phaseout Decision in Light of the Events at Fukushima. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 1(1), pp.42–53.
Published on 01 Jan 2012.
Peer Reviewed

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