Where Does Japan Put Nuclear Facilities?

While a large literature exists on the siting of controversial facilities, few theories about spatial location have been tested on large samples. Using a new dataset from Japan, this paper demonstrates that state agencies choose localities judged weakest in local civil society as host communities for controversial projects. In some cases, powerful politicians deliberately seek to have facilities such as nuclear power plants, dams, and airports placed in their home constituency. This paper then explores new territory: how demographic, political, and civil society factors impact the outcomes of siting attempts. It finds that the strength of local civil society impacts the probability that a proposed project will come to fruition; the greater the concentration of local civil society, the less likely state-planned projects will be completed.

From a 2008 article (ungated pdf) by political scientist Daniel Aldrich. Here are his related articles on the siting of controversial facilities and here is his book on the subject. Here is Daniel’s article on the recovery after the Kobe earthquake. Here is his article on post-tsunami recovery in Southeast Asia. And there are more.

One Response to Where Does Japan Put Nuclear Facilities?

  1. Wilson March 14, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    With hindsight, it looks like it would have been better if the plants were built on the west coast instead of the east coast of Japan, where tsunamis could damage them. I looked at a map at and it seems as if 6 of 17 plants are vulnerable to tsunamis. If the siting of plants on the east coast were due to “weak” civil societies, that would be a major indictment of the irrationality of nuclear plant construction decisions, though I suppose maybe one needs plants on the east coast to service the metro Tokyo area. The map is at: http://www.japannuclear.com/nuclearpower/program/location.html#