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Abstract

My dissertation considers examples of how social, economic, and political incentives associated with energy production, distribution, and consumption increase the risk of harm to society and the environment. ,In the first essay, "Why America should move toward dry cask consolidated interim storage of used nuclear fuel," my co-authors and I discuss how the confluence of the U.S. Government and electricity utilities' political and economic incentives created a gridlock preventing a long-term nuclear waste disposal solution. We find that our current policies undermine the safety and security of the nuclear waste, and so, suggest a temporary, consolidated storage solution.,In the second essay, "Import-Adjusted Fatality Rates for Individual OECD Countries Caused by Accidents in the Oil Energy Chain," my co-authors and I adopt a technique from the greenhouse gas accounting literature and assign CO2 emissions to the final consumer (rather than the producer) by allocating the risk -- measured in fatalities -- associated with oil production to the final consumer. The new assignments show that normal methods of tracking oil production impacts only capture part of the actual costs.,In the third essay, "Insurgent Attacks on Energy Infrastructure and Electoral Institutions in Colombia," my co-authors and I consider the economic and political incentives that an energy resource create in a conflict environment. Our research shows that insurgents in Colombia, Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), strategically time attacks on critical energy infrastructure during elections. These results are the first to quantify insurgent tactics to target critical energy infrastructure, which potentially undermine state capacity and democratic processes.

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