COGER Annual Public Lecture: Public risk perceptions and nuclear energy in Britain
Peel Lecture Theatre, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, University Road, Bristol, BS8 1RL
Professor Nick Pidgeon from Cardiff University will give the annual COGER public lecture on the topic of ‘nuclear power and environmental risk'.
The presentation reviews the history of academic research on nuclear power risk perceptions, highlighting the important role played by trust. It moves on to consider how views of nuclear in Britain have evolved over the past 15 years, drawing upon empirical evidence from national surveys and an in-depth study of communities around existing nuclear facilities.
Many people in Britain still hold only a ‘reluctant acceptance’ of nuclear power when placed in relation to their beliefs about both climate change and energy security. At local sites views are more complex, and dependent upon a number of factors (geography, trust, benefits, safety). While most local people expressed a familiarity and acceptance of a local station, anxieties always exist below the surface of discourse. The talk concludes with consideration of the impacts of the Fukushima accident on British public perceptions, as compared to those in Japan.