Born under a bad sign, as a weapon capable of mass destruction, nuclear energy has both enjoyed great support and triggered great hostility. In recent years there has been talk of a "nuclear renaissance": this power source appears to be a potential solution to the increasing world demand for energy and, at the same time, the need to produce electricity without creating greenhouse gases. Is it really true that nuclear power is convenient and can contribute to sustainable development? Or should we be suspicious due to the risk of radioactive emissions and the issue of nuclear waste disposal? The answers to these questions are crucial for any country's decision to undertake, resume or continue along the road to nuclear power.
Luigi De Paoli teaches Energy and Environmental Economics at the Luigi Bocconi University in Milan.