A Comparative Analysis of Public Policy on Nuclear Energy in the United States, France, and Germany
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Nuclear energy has been a divisive issue in the public forum since its inception. However, every state that has acquired the technology required for the production· of nuclear power has done so for its own reasons, and their public policies have differed based on many different factors. But which factors are important, and why. This monograph examines three Western, democratic states: The United States of America, the Republic of France, and the Federal Republic of Germany, in order to determine why democracies pursue similar or different policies regarding nuclear energy. Essentially, the question is this: What factors cause democratic states to pursue certain policies regarding nuclear energy? In the course of the research for this essay, three factors have proven to provide the most insight into the development and enforcement of public policy on nuclear energy. These are: political context, the state's resource economy, and public opinion. Each of these are examined in turn in regard to the case study states. The first chapter of this monograph is a review of the pertinent literature regarding each case study state's nuclear energy policy and the factors that have influenced it. This topic has been thoroughly researched by scholars, and many studies have been done examining elements of these states' public policies, both together and separately. Some pieces of literature have touched on one or two of the three factors that I propose largely govern decision making on nuclear energy policy, but in the course of this research there have been none that compared all of the factors in regard to all three case study states; bringing them all together is where this paper's contribution to the existing literature resides.