Nuclear power, climate change and energy security: Exploring British public attitudes

Adam Corner, Dan Venables, Alexa Spence, Wouter Poortinga, Christina Demski, Nick Pidgeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Public attitudes towards nuclear power in the UK have historically been deeply divided, but as concern about climate change and energy security has exerted an increasing influence on British energy policy, nuclear power has been reframed as a low-carbon technology. Previous research has suggested that a significant proportion of people may 'reluctantly accept' nuclear power as a means of addressing the greater threat of climate change. Drawing on the results of a national British survey (n=1822), the current study found that attitudes towards nuclear remain divided, with only a minority expressing unconditional acceptance. In general, people who expressed greater concern about climate change and energy security and possessed higher environmental values were less likely to favour nuclear power. However, when nuclear power was given an explicit 'reluctant acceptance' framing - allowing people to express their dislike for nuclear power alongside their conditional support - concerns about climate change and energy security became positive predictors of support for nuclear power. These findings suggest that concern about climate change and energy security will only increase acceptance of nuclear power under limited circumstances-specifically once other (preferred) options have been exhausted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4823-4833
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Policy
Volume39
Issue number9
Early online date20 Jul 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2011

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Energy security
  • Nuclear power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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