Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 5 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback128 pages $25.00

Whether the light water reactor (LWR) has become commercially "successful" remains uncertain even today. Its ambiguous future has been dominated by developments and events unforeseen when commercialization began. Although several reactor demonstration projects were technologically successful, the construction and operation of small LWRs did not convince utilities that large plants had economic attractiveness. Optimistic cost projections fostered the early stages of commercial-scale construction; the outcomes proved almost disastrous for some investors. Fossil fuel price increases eventually restored competitiveness of LWRs, but critical problems occurred because the interactive roles of government, manufacturers and utilities were not clarified until late in the commercialization phase. One consequence of LWR experience has been a reluctance of industry and utilities to invest in apparently risky energy programs. Demonstrating that both cost and technical obstacles can be adequately anticipated seems essential to induce future industry support in efforts to develop new energy sources. A high level of government participation and subsidy seems inevitable.

This report is part of the RAND report series. The report was a product of RAND from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.