Energy subsidies: Global estimates, causes of variance, and gaps for the nuclear fuel cycle

Attributed Authors: Doug Koplow (Earth Track, Inc.) Published: Oct 2017
This chapter explores global subsidies to energy.  These subsidies cost hundreds of billions of dollars per year, often skewing market decisions in ways detrimental to environmental quality and social welfare. Subsidy reform could provide large fiscal and  environmental gains, although remains politically challenging to implement . Growing data collection by international agencies and others has expanded the fuels and countries captured in international subsidy figures. However, important gaps remain regarding credit support, liability subsidies, natural resource leasing, and state-owned enterprises (SoEs) .
In addition, data on subsidies to the nuclear fuel cycle remain particularly weak, with no global estimates at all and very few national ones . This is despite US$4 .4 trillion in projected investments in new nuclear facilities by 2050, much of which will be state-guaranteed, and heavy government involvement with many parts of the nuclear fuel cycle . These hidden subsidies promote the expansion of nuclear facilities, infrastructure, and capabilities throughout the world even when other alternatives could provide the same energy services more quickly, at lower risk, and for less money.
The chapter is part of Learning from Fukushima, edited by Peter Van Ness and Mel Gurtov and published by the Australian National University Press in Canberra.  The subsidy chapter can be accessed here; the full book can be accessed here.
Tags: global subsidies, nuclear subsidies, Fukushima