On initiative of the Dutch Parliament a scenario study took place on economics, energy and the environment, to analyse the need of building additional nuclear power plants in the Netherlands in the coming decades. Characteristic for the study is the application of empirical models that describe the relations between economic growth, demand and supply of energy, and the production of pollutants and waste materials. The results of the study suggest that a considerable reduction of emissions of pollutants may be obtained as compared with the levels of 1980, even when no new nuclear power plants are built. This result, however, can only be realised when a substantial improvement of energy efficiency takes place, in combination with additional policy measures to abate pollution. Using the methodology described in this paper the study could be expanded to a European or even a global level, taking account of the transboundary aspects of pollution.