Chapter 24. Energy Economics

The definition of economics appearing in a popular textbook[] is as follows:

Paul A. Samuelson and William D. Nordhaus, Economics, 18th Ed., Irwin/McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 2006.

Economics is the study of how societies use scarce resources to produce valuable commodities and distribute them among different people.

The definition is relevant in that we seek answers to questions such as these:

  • What are the comparative costs of electricity from nuclear plants and from coal or oil plants?
  • What is the expected use for nuclear power in the future?
  • What choices of nuclear power research and development must be made?

In this chapter we will consider the first of these questions, examining the origin of costs ...

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