Framing the nuclear debate: Could climate change be the key to a sustainable energy future?

C R Jones, J R Eiser, Timothy Gamble

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


One of the fundamental components of a sustainable future is sustainable power generation. Being ‘carbon-neutral' at point of generation, nuclear power is expected by the UK Government to play a key role in securing a low-carbon energy future for the country. We examined the impact of Governmental framing on the comparative favourability of nuclear power within UK's electricity-mix. Four frames were utilised; two pro-nuclear frames (climate change and energy security), one anti-nuclear frame (nuclear waste) and one neutral frame (how nuclear power produces electricity). Each frame was created by adapting textual information provided by the Government during a recent consultation on the future of nuclear power in the UK (2007–2008). Following exposure to one of these frames, participants determined the extent to which each of five key energy sources (including nuclear) should feature in the UK's electricity-mix. Participants then answered a series of questions assessing related socio-cognitive constructs; including their opinions about nuclear power. Results indicated that participants in the climate change condition demonstrated increased support for the future use of nuclear power. Participants in all other conditions saw there to be a role for nuclear power but did not believe that its contribution should differ from existent levels (c.18 per cent).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
Event2009 Social Psychology Section Annual Conference - Sheffield
Duration: 15 Sept 200917 Sept 2009


Conference2009 Social Psychology Section Annual Conference


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