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Improving Public Acceptance to Nuclear Power: Policy, Practice and Experience With Public Communication

[+] Author Affiliations
Zhang Xiaofeng, Zhao Feng, Zhu Rongxu, Yang Zongzhen, Shangguan Zhihong

Suzhou Nuclear Power Research Institute, Suzhou, China

Paper No. ICONE25-66789, pp. V008T12A006; 4 pages
  • 2017 25th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 8: Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Coupled Codes; Nuclear Education, Public Acceptance and Related Issues
  • Shanghai, China, July 2–6, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5786-1
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


With the development of public awareness on environmental protection, especially after the Fukushima nuclear accident, the opposition to nuclear power due to NIMBY (not in my back yard) effect begins to hinder the rapid development of Chinese nuclear industry. For example, in recent years several large-scale mass incidents with appealing to stop the siting and construction of nuclear facilities in China have put related projects (including nuclear power plant and nuclear fuel cycle facility) into termination, resulting in certain financial loss and unnecessary social unstabilization, thus causing more and more concern from administrative authority, research institution and nuclear industry.

To strengthen public acceptance on nuclear power, related enterprises such as CGN and CNNC have made great efforts in information disclosure to eliminate mysterious feelings towards nuclear power and expect to build new impression as clean energy. Domestic institutions and universities carry out plenty of work on methods to help public correctly perceive nuclear risk and present strategies for effective public communication. Administrative authority also issued detailed guidance on public communication required to be fulfilled during plant’s siting phase, which provided explicit provisions on the responsibility and job content of different entities.

Here we will take one public communication practice of one nuclear power project located in south Zhejiang region as an example. In this scenario, we face more difficulty than other projects, such as doubt from local government, complexity of public types, and large amount of stakeholders. In this paper, we will make summary on endeavors to improve public acceptance, such as large amount of NPP visits, comprehensive scientific popularization, direct communication with stakeholders and integration development between local society and nuclear industry. And we will discuss the feasibility of innovative practice, combining several similar tasks needed in different subjects, such as environmental impact assessment and social stabilization assessment, to fulfill at once. To achieve this goal, we design specific questionnaire and use it to survey the opinion of more than 800 people in the fairly large region across different provinces, covering 30km radius area of site, which gains satisfactory results.

By comparing outcomes of opinion surveys carried out before and after the practice, we will put forward to the considerable effect of public communication in improving public acceptance to nuclear power, and analysis the pros and cons of this example. Moreover, we also expect the good experience in practice can be promoted to overall processes of nuclear power plant, including siting, construction, commission and life extension, helping nuclear power gain more public acceptance.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Nuclear power



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