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

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

Abstract

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

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    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.
    4. Lynn J Frewer & Chaya Howard & Richard Shepherd, 1998. "Understanding public attitudes to technology," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(3), pages 221-235, July.
    5. Greenberg, Michael, 2009. "Energy sources, public policy, and public preferences: Analysis of US national and site-specific data," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 3242-3249, August.
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