Comparative Phasing-Out Nuclear Energy: Public Policies, Party Competition and Public Opinion in European Countries

Research question/goal: 

The projects’ ambition is to understand the interplay between the beliefs and policy preferences of strategically relevant / tactically mobile voter groups, party strategies and policy outcomes. It analyses those West European countries (and some control cases) that have decided to completely phase-out nuclear energy or at least have had moratoria on the use of nuclear energy at a certain point in time. For that purpose the project reviews the relevant energy policy decisions and reconstructs the related decision-making processes. Special attention is paid to economic conditions, energy supply dependency, environmental commitments and those events that directly impinge on the decisions – the nuclear accidents of Harrisburg, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. The project shows that public opinion is an important driver of nuclear energy policy. Yet, critical nuclear energy policy decisions also display a great amount of autonomy of politics. An English language volume with country and comparative studies will be published later.

Fact sheet

Fritz Thyssen Stiftung
2008 to 2011
Data Sources: 
Opinion poll data, party documents, official documents
Geographic Space: 
Selected European countries



Müller, Wolfgang C., and Paul W. Thurner (Eds.) (2017): The Politics of Nuclear Energy in Western Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press. more