Description and meaning of the component

The use of nuclear power is significantly different from the use of other energy sources for several reasons, especially because of the generation of nuclear waste that has to be deposited safely for a very long period of time and – as seen in Fukushima and Chernobyl – the danger of a nuclear accident and unforeseeable long-term damages.

The aim of the component is to express the resulting costs of nuclear energy as an annual amount and deduct it from social welfare. On the other side, the economic use of building and running a nuclear power station is a positive factor in GDP – without any deductions.


Description of Indicator trends

Because of the assumption of a constant cost factor, the visible development of the graph only results from the changes in energy production from nuclear energy in the respective years. The production increased in direction between 1991 and 1997 (by 16 % in total). The costs rose from 18.3 billion euro to 21.2 billion accordingly. Afterwards the costs on average remained relatively constant until 2006. A clear decrease is visible after 2007. Experts explain this by the partial or total inactivity of some power plants.

After 2010 the value remains on the 2007 level. The costs in this period were around 18 billion euro.  In 2011 and 2012 the electricity generated from nuclear power fell significantly. This was caused by the ultimate closing of in total 8 nuclear power plants in august 2011 in the course of the Fukushima catastrophe. Consequently the costs of nuclear power fell considerably to 12.4 billion euro in 2012.

In the years to come these costs will further decrease due to the planned phasing out of nuclear energy in Germany. In case of an earlier phasing out and thus a shorter total running time and lower power generation of nuclear plants by political decisions, the costs would be further reduced and the NWI positively stimulated.