Climate Change, Nuclear Economics, and Conflicts of Interest

Science and Engineering Ethics 17 (1):75-107 (2011)
Abstract
Merck suppressed data on harmful effects of its drug Vioxx, and Guidant suppressed data on electrical flaws in one of its heart-defibrillator models. Both cases reveal how financial conflicts of interest can skew biomedical research. Such conflicts also occur in electric-utility-related research. Attempting to show that increased atomic energy can help address climate change, some industry advocates claim nuclear power is an inexpensive way to generate low-carbon electricity. Surveying 30 recent nuclear analyses, this paper shows that industry-funded studies appear to fall into conflicts of interest and to illegitimately trim cost data in several main ways. They exclude costs of full-liability insurance, underestimate interest rates and construction times by using overnight costs, and overestimate load factors and reactor lifetimes. If these trimmed costs are included, nuclear-generated electricity can be shown roughly 6 times more expensive than most studies claim. After answering four objections, the paper concludes that, although there may be reasons to use reactors to address climate change, economics does not appear to be one of them
Keywords Atomic energy  Climate change  Conflicts of interest  Data-trimming  Economics  Electricity  Energy  Global warming  Greenhouse-gas emissions  Nuclear power  Renewable  Solar photovoltaic  Wind
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA
    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    R. J. (2000). T. C. Chamberlin, Climate Change, and Cosmogony. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 31 (3):293-308.
    Thomas L. Carson (1994). Conflicts of Interest. Journal of Business Ethics 13 (5):387 - 404.
    David B. Resnik (1998). Conflicts of Interest in Science. Perspectives on Science 6 (4):381-408.
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2009-11-11

    Total downloads

    48 ( #28,758 of 1,089,048 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,722 of 1,089,048 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.