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Title: Public opinion and nuclear power decision-making

This document discusses public opinion regarding nuclear power which is particularly difficult to tie down because of five important paradoxes that characterize it: it can be based on sound reason, but also on intense emotion; it is both national and local in perspective; at varying times it has seen nuclear power as both clean'' and dirty''; it believes nuclear power is both economic, and uneconomic; and nuclear power is perceived as having a fairly safe record, but being potentially unsafe. Equally as complex as the process by which public opinion is formed is the process by which it is converted into public policy. The American political system has numerous checks and balances designed to moderate the power of public opinion. A complex series of legislative, judicial, and executive branch hurdles must be cleared before any idea, however popular, can become day-to-day operating reality in government. As a result, major changes in policy or programs are difficult, and we may expect that nuclear power will be no different; radical change in one direction or the other is unlikely. Nevertheless, carefully focused programs could achieve modest progress, and carefully designed public opinion surveys could support such programs.
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5210738
Report Number(s):
DOE/ER/12951-3
ON: DE92015075
DOE Contract Number:
FC02-90ER12951
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
George Mason Univ., Fairfax, VA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
DOE; USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; PUBLIC OPINION; ECONOMICS; GOVERNMENT POLICIES; NUCLEAR POWER; REACTOR SAFETY; NUCLEAR FACILITIES; POWER; POWER PLANTS; SAFETY; THERMAL POWER PLANTS 220900* -- Nuclear Reactor Technology-- Reactor Safety; 210700 -- Nuclear Power Plants-- Regulation & Licensing; 290600 -- Energy Planning & Policy-- Nuclear Energy