The Politics of Nuclear Energy in Western Europe

ISBN : 9780198747031

Paul W. Thurner; Wolfgang C. Muller
416 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Apr 2017
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This volume investigates nuclear energy policies in Western Europe over the entire post-war period, but with special attention to the two most recent decades. The comparative analytical perspective draws on the interplay between voters' attitudes, challenging movements, party competition, and coalition formation. Spanning more than 60 years and 16 countries, the researchers examine the underlying causal processes leading to the observed varieties of Western European nuclear energy policies. Based on a mixed methods approach using both structured case studies as well as quantitative analyses, the study shows that the nature of party competition under given institutional contexts is a key-driver for, as a rule, tactically motivated governmental policy changes and stability, respectively. Part I introduces the practical and theoretical relevance of the topic. It outlines the reasoning of the major scientific contributions with regard to nuclear energy policies, and offers a theoretical alternative to the previous literatures that has been predominantly movements-oriented. Additionally, it provides core economic and political indicators of the changing role of nuclear energy in the countries. Part II consists of seven in-depth case studies where the outlined theoretical perspective is applied. Part III consists of a general summary, short narratives of the countries not covered in case studies, qualitative comparison and an assessment of the factors for policy change from multivariate analysis.


1: Nuclear Energy in Western Europe: Revival or Rejection? An Introduction, Wolfgang C. Müller and Paul W. Thurner
2: Understanding Policy Reversals and Policy Stability in Individual Countries, Wolfgang C. Müller and Paul W. Thurner
3: Comparative Policy Indicators on Nuclear Energy, Paul W. Thurner and Wolfgang C. Müller
4: The Conflict over Nuclear Energy: Public Opinion, Protest Movements, and Green Parties in Comparative Perspective, Paul W. Thurner, Sylvain Brouard, Isabel Guineaudau, Martin Dolezal, Swen Hutter, and Wolfgang C. Müller
5: Austria: Rejecting Nuclear Energy-From Party Competition Accident to State Doctrine, Wolfgang C. Müller
6: Nuclear Politics in France: High Profile Policy and Low Salient Politics, Sylvain Brouard and Isabelle Guinaudeau
7: Germany: Party System Change and Policy Reversals, Paul W. Thurner
8: Italy: Leading and Lagging: Innovation, Delays and Coalition Politics in Nuclear Energy Policy, Fabio Franchino
9: Nuclear Power and Politics in the Netherlands, Kees Aarts and Maarten Arentsen
10: The Will of the People? Swedish Nuclear Power Policy, Sören Holmberg and Per Hedberg
11: Switzerland, Hanspeter Kriesi
12: Conclusion: Explaining Nuclear Policy Reversals, Wolfgang C. Müller, Paul W. Thurner, and Christian Schulze

About the author: 

Wolfgang C. Muller is Professor of Democratic Governance at the University of Vienna. Previous appointments included Chair and Director of the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) at the University of Mannheim. His work focuses on political parties, political institutions, and coalition government in Western Europe. Since 2013 he is co-editor of West European Politics. He has published in journals such as European Journal of Political Research, Electoral Studies, the International Journal Press/Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Party Politics, Political Science Research and Methods, Public Choice, and West European Politics.; Paul W. Thurner is Chair of Empirical Political Research and Policy Analysis, Department of Political Science, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen (LMU Munich). He has published in journals such as the European Journal of Political Research, Journal of European Public Policy, Energy Policy, Political Geography, West European Politics, and Electoral Studies.

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