We assessed the influence of the Fukushima nuclear accident (FNA) on the Chinese public’s attitude and acceptance of nuclear power plants in China. Two surveys (before and after the FNA) were administered to separate subsamples of residents near the Tianwan nuclear power plant in Lianyungang, China. A structural equation model was constructed to describe the public acceptance of nuclear power and four risk perception factors: knowledge, perceived risk, benefit, and trust. Regression analysis was conducted to estimate the relationship between acceptance of nuclear power and the risk perception factors while controlling for demographic variables. Meanwhile, we assessed the median public acceptable frequencies for three levels of nuclear events. The FNA had a significant impact on risk perception of the Chinese public, especially on the factor of perceived risk, which increased from limited risk to great risk. Public acceptance of nuclear power decreased significantly after the FNA. The most sensitive groups include females, those not in public service, those with lower income, and those living close to the Tianwan nuclear power plant. Fifty percent of the survey respondents considered it acceptable to have a nuclear anomaly no more than once in 50 y. For nuclear incidents and serious incidents, the frequencies are once in 100 y and 150 y, respectively. The change in risk perception and acceptance may be attributed to the FNA. Decreased acceptance of nuclear power after the FNA among the Chinese public creates additional obstacles to further development of nuclear power in China and require effective communication strategies.
public perception; nuclear risk; spatial distribution;
Lei Huang, Ying Zhou, Yuting Han, James K. Hammitt, Jun Bi, and Yang Liu, “Effect of the Fukushima nuclear accident on the risk perception of residents near a nuclear power plant in China”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 110, n. 49, December 3, 2013, pp. 19742–19747.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 110, n. 49, December 3, 2013, pp. 19742–19747