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Measuring Nuclear Power Plant Negative Externalities through the Life Satisfaction Approach: The Case of Ulsan City

Kye Woo Lee and Se Jong Yoo

KDI Journal of Economic Policy, 2018, vol. 40, issue 1, 67-83

Abstract: We have hypothesized that nuclear risk is significantly inversely related to the distance from residences to nuclear power plants and that the level of life satisfaction of residents therefore increases with the distance. We empirically explore the relationship between Ulsan citizens' life satisfaction levels and the distance between their residences and the Kori and Wolsong nuclear power plants (NPP) based on the life satisfaction approach (LSA). The dataset we used covers only Ulsan citizens from the biennial Ulsan Statistics on Citizen's Living Condition and Consciousness of 2014 and 2016. Controlling for micro-variables such as education, work satisfaction, gender, marital status, and expenditures, we found a statistically significant relationship between life satisfaction and the distance between the residences and the nuclear power plants. Nuclear negative externalities including (i) health and environmental impact, (ii) radioactive waste disposal, and (iii) the effect of severe accidents can be quantified in terms of LS units and monetary units. We were able to calculate the monetary value of NPP externalities at $277 per kilometer of distance for Kori and $280 per kilometer of distance for Wolsong at constant 2015 prices. These estimates are quite different from the traditional estimates made with the contingent valuation method, whereas they are similar to the findings of LSA studies abroad. Hence, the need to adopt the LSA in South Korea and policy implications are demonstrated.

Keywords: Negative Nuclear Externalities; Nuclear Risk; Life Satisfaction Approach; Non-market valuation; Nuclear Power Plants; South Korea (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D61 H43 L94 Q41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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