Assessing the impact of framing on the comparative favourability of nuclear power as an electricity generating option in the UK

C R Jones, J R Eiser, Tim Gamble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In 2007 the UK government's public consultation on the future of nuclear power courted much criticism. Three studies were conducted to assess whether key arguments used by government within this consultation might have influenced public opinion about the technology. Participants first read a passage of text that made salient certain positive (climate change mitigation, increased energy security) or negative (nuclear waste) aspects of the nuclear debate. Participants then completed a task that required them to create an electricity mix for the UK by varying the contributions made by each of five energy sources (coal, gas, nuclear, renewables and electric import). Study 1 seemed to indicate that pitching the debate in terms of climate change mitigation was effective in increasing endorsement of nuclear power. The results of studies 2 and 3, however, contested this conclusion, suggesting that these arguments were having little direct impact upon participants' preferences for nuclear power. The results of these studies hold implications for UK energy policy and attitude assessment and can contribute to the understanding of how the arguments used by government in the 2007 consultation might have influenced public opinion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-465
Number of pages15
JournalEnergy Policy
Volume41
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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