Risk Perceptions of Resuming Nuclear Power Plant Operations After Fukushima: A Student Survey
Kami Seo*, Tadahiro Motoyoshi**,†, and Yasunobu Maeda***
*School of International Politics Economics and Communication, Aoyama Gakuin University
4-4-25 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8366, Japan
**Faculty of Safety Science, Kansai University, Osaka, Japan
***Graduate School of Integrated Science and Technology, Shizuoka University, Shizuoka, Japan
Quake-induced accident of Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 triggered heated argument about the country’s energy policy in Japan. Although many people recognized the risk of nuclear energy use, they did not necessarily support the option of abandoning the technology for the near future. This paper focuses on how people perceive risks associated with and without nuclear power generation and how perceived risks affect their opinion. We conducted questionnaire survey targeting 18–20 year old university students, the stakeholders in the future. The survey was implemented in 2013–2014 when none of Japan’s nuclear power plants was in active use. Three quarters of the respondents answered that a future with nuclear power generation was more realistic than without it. The aspects dividing the two groups, i.e., respondents who expect a future with or without nuclear energy use were their evaluations of three themes: (1) the feasibility of renewable energy sources, (2) the impacts in the safety of developing nations’ nuclear power generation, and (3) the difficulty in gaining the acceptance of residents near the power plants. Meanwhile, both groups above were similarly positive about technological innovation, and were similarly and strongly negative about developing safety management.
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