US Household Support for Non-Fossil Fuel Based Energy R&D: Accounting for Uncertainty, News Media Coverage and Possible Nuclear “Poison Pill” Effects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of New Mexico


Public preferences across the mix of non-fossil fuel-based energy research and development (R&D) options, including a possible development path with increased nuclear energy, are likely to be complex. Preferences may reflect information (media coverage) and proximity effects (e.g. to nuclear clean-up sites), and are potentially fraught with uncertainty. To explore these issues, we use a three-year contingent valuation survey (telephone and Internet) from 2006 to 2008 using an advisory referendum for a National Energy Research and Development Fund to estimate annual US household willingness to pay (WTP). Objectives of this analysis include: (i) combining survey data with extensive secondary information sources to explore news media coverage, and proximity effects of distance to the nearest nuclear clean-up site, and (ii) improving WTP modelling via a preference simulation approach (PSA) to a follow-up uncertainty question. Results indicate the presence of a small nuclear “poison pill” effect overall, which decays as distance from a nuclear clean-up site increases. No effect is found for an index of recent energy related news media coverage. Finally, improved incorporation of uncertainty using PSA produces conservative WTP estimates with much tighter confidence intervals.


Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Ecological Economics and Statistics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2015