Nuclear Power Contracts and International Cooperation: Analyzing Innovation and Social Distribution in Russian Foreign Policy

  • Theocharis N. Grigoriadis


What is the role of nuclear contracts in Russian foreign policy? This chapter analyzes the political economy of nuclear power regulation in Russia and its implications for Russian foreign policy when it comes to international cooperation in the advanced and the developing world. Complementarities between the civil and military uses of nuclear power may explain its extensive adoption by states defined by high electricity demand, market interventionism, and great power status. Now that nuclear technology focuses primarily on civil rather than military applications, sustainable development fueled by sufficient growth rates is part of the core logic of nuclear investment. In that regard, is it possible to argue that international business activity in the nuclear sector may have positive domestic implications for social welfare? The latter includes all those policy instruments that guarantee the provision of a distributive minimum to the median citizen of the middle- and lower-class continuum price subsidies on energy commodities, social peace-preserving employment rates, and the provision of adequate health and education services form a set of energy-induced distributive rents for middle- and low-income citizens (Roemer 1993; World Energy Outlook 2006). Low electricity prices have been more important than nuclear weapons for governmental survival since the end of the Cold War; nuclear innovation reduces the marginal cost of electricity production and thus allows higher consumption rates for the median citizen. This first-order assumption implies that nuclear innovation is expected to exert positive welfare influence at the domestic level; international nuclear power contracts are less likely to occur when, despite their high sunk costs, they are not linked with social peace and public opinion.


Nuclear Technology Russian Government Nuclear Waste Disposal Social Distribution Innovation Incentive 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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