“Be Cautious with the Precautionary Principle”

That’s the title of a new paper by Matthew J. Neidell, Shinsuke Uchida, and Marcella Veronesi that was published by National Bureau of Economic Research this month. Here’s the abstract:

This paper provides a large scale, empirical evaluation of unintended effects from invoking the precautionary principle after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. After the accident, all nuclear power stations ceased operation and nuclear power was replaced by fossil fuels, causing an exogenous increase in electricity prices. This increase led to a reduction in energy consumption, which caused an increase in mortality during very cold temperatures. We estimate that the increase in mortality from higher electricity prices outnumbers the mortality from the accident itself, suggesting the decision to cease nuclear production has contributed to more deaths than the accident itself.

And here’s Lyman Stone’s summary:

About 1,500 people probably died or will die as a result of the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2011. The government’s response, shutting down nuclear power, probably killed 4,500 more.

Will anti-nuclear environmentalists take note?

Jon Guze / Director of Legal Studies

Jon Guze is the Director of Legal Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the John Locke Foundation, Jon practiced law in Durham, North Carolina for over twent...

Reader Comments