Facing a Crisis with Calmness? The Global Response to the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
University of Niigata Prefecture; State University of New York at Albany - Department of Political Science
March 30, 2012
Japanese Journal of Political Science, Vol.13, No. 3, 2012
Literature expects that an attitude toward nuclear power is in direct proportion to the perceived risk of accidents at operational nuclear power plant; that is, the oppositional attitude is based on the view that nuclear technology is risky and support for nuclear power is related to a perceived low risk and/or potential benefit. However, it is misleading to assume that individuals’ risk perception alone can linearly explain their position after such an accident. The association between risk perception and attitude toward nuclear power varies significantly according to country but, until now, has been largely unexamined. This article takes into consideration the effects of structural factors on that relationship by examining public attitudes toward nuclear energy after the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011 and reveals that the need for the efficient production of electricity (i.e., nuclear energy) outweighs concern for the potential danger of a nuclear incident. Although a country’s dependence on nuclear power for the production of electricity engenders anti-nuclear attitudes, it is evident that a level of economic development largely alleviates any negativity relative to that energy source.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 54Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 30, 2012
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