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Climate change benefits and energy supply benefits as determinants of acceptance of nuclear power stations: Investigating an explanatory model


  • Visschers, Vivianne H.M.
  • Keller, Carmen
  • Siegrist, Michael


Several countries are currently discussing whether they will rebuild their nuclear power stations in order to continue this type of energy production in the future. The public, with its own opinion about nuclear power stations, has an influential voice in this discussion. As a result, policy makers and nuclear scientists are interested in the public's perception of nuclear power and in what determines this perception. We therefore examined an explanatory model of the public's acceptance of nuclear power based on a telephone survey among a representative sample in Switzerland. The model included such factors as risk perception, benefit perception, affective feelings, and social trust. Moreover, we distinguished between two types of benefit perception: benefit for the climate and a secure energy supply. The model fitted very well to our data and explained acceptance very well. Acceptance was mainly influenced by perceived benefits for a secure energy supply and, to a lesser extent, both by perceived benefits for the climate and by risk perception. Affective feelings about nuclear power appeared to be a central factor in the model. Implications for communication about nuclear power stations and for further research are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Visschers, Vivianne H.M. & Keller, Carmen & Siegrist, Michael, 2011. "Climate change benefits and energy supply benefits as determinants of acceptance of nuclear power stations: Investigating an explanatory model," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3621-3629, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:6:p:3621-3629

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bang, Guri, 2010. "Energy security and climate change concerns: Triggers for energy policy change in the United States?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 1645-1653, April.
    2. Adamantiades, A. & Kessides, I., 2009. "Nuclear power for sustainable development: Current status and future prospects," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5149-5166, December.
    3. Watson, Jim & Scott, Alister, 2009. "New nuclear power in the UK: A strategy for energy security?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5094-5104, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Visschers, Vivianne H.M. & Siegrist, Michael, 2012. "Fair play in energy policy decisions: Procedural fairness, outcome fairness and acceptance of the decision to rebuild nuclear power plants," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 292-300.
    2. Siegrist, Michael & Sütterlin, Bernadette & Keller, Carmen, 2014. "Why have some people changed their attitudes toward nuclear power after the accident in Fukushima?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 356-363.
    3. repec:spr:nathaz:v:87:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11069-017-2790-x is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:1092-:d:139773 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Ertör-Akyazı, Pınar & Adaman, Fikret & Özkaynak, Begüm & Zenginobuz, Ünal, 2012. "Citizens’ preferences on nuclear and renewable energy sources: Evidence from Turkey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 309-320.
    6. Guo, Yue & Ren, Tao, 2017. "When it is unfamiliar to me: Local acceptance of planned nuclear power plants in China in the post-fukushima era," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 113-125.
    7. van Rijnsoever, Frank J. & van Mossel, Allard & Broecks, Kevin P.F., 2015. "Public acceptance of energy technologies: The effects of labeling, time, and heterogeneity in a discrete choice experiment," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 817-829.
    8. Frantál, Bohumil & Malý, Jiří, 2017. "Close or renew? Factors affecting local community support for rebuilding nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 134-143.
    9. T. H. Tengku Ismail & H. Juahir & A. Z. Aris & Sharifuddin M. Zain & Armi Abu Samah, 2016. "Local community acceptance of the rare earth industry: the case of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Malaysia," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 739-762, June.
    10. Zhu, Weiwei & Wei, Jiuchang & Zhao, Dingtao, 2016. "Anti-nuclear behavioral intentions: The role of perceived knowledge, information processing, and risk perception," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 168-177.
    11. repec:eee:ecoser:v:29:y:2018:i:pa:p:128-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Anshelm, Jonas & Simon, Haikola, 2016. "Power production and environmental opinions – Environmentally motivated resistance to wind power in Sweden," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1545-1555.
    13. repec:eee:rensus:v:78:y:2017:i:c:p:157-166 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Soland, Martin & Steimer, Nora & Walter, Götz, 2013. "Local acceptance of existing biogas plants in Switzerland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 802-810.
    15. Perlaviciute, Goda & Steg, Linda, 2014. "Contextual and psychological factors shaping evaluations and acceptability of energy alternatives: Integrated review and research agenda," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 361-381.
    16. repec:spr:envpol:v:19:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10018-016-0167-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Hartmann, Patrick & Apaolaza, Vanessa & D'Souza, Clare & Echebarria, Carmen & Barrutia, Jose M., 2013. "Nuclear power threats, public opposition and green electricity adoption: Effects of threat belief appraisal and fear arousal," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1366-1376.
    18. Heather Truelove & Michael Greenberg, 2013. "Who has become more open to nuclear power because of climate change?," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 116(2), pages 389-409, January.
    19. Kim, Younghwan & Kim, Wonjoon & Kim, Minki, 2014. "An international comparative analysis of public acceptance of nuclear energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 475-483.
    20. L׳Orange Seigo, Selma & Dohle, Simone & Siegrist, Michael, 2014. "Public perception of carbon capture and storage (CCS): A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 848-863.
    21. Liu, Feng & Lyu, Tao & Pan, Li & Wang, Fei, 2017. "Influencing factors of public support for modern coal-fired power plant projects: An empirical study from China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 398-406.


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