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Does the "NIMBY syndrome" undermine public support for nuclear power in Japan?

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Abstract

A key obstacle to nuclear energy as a decarbonization policy is the public perception of risks of radiation leaks from reactors. In particular, the “not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY)" syndrome suggests that individuals oppose nuclear reactors in their neighborhoods because they overestimate their risks. Arguably, such perceptions would be acute for those who have lived in the vicinity of a nuclear accident. We conducted a survey-embedded experiment in Japan (N = 2574) to assess how the NIMBY syndrome influences public support for restarting nuclear reactors when health, economic, and climate change benefits of nuclear energy are highlighted. We focus on Japan because the risks of nuclear energy became salient after the 2011 Fukushima accident. We test for two types of NIMBY effect, (1) respondents’ proximity to any nuclear power plant and (2) respondents’ place of residence in 2011 and its proximity to Fukushima. We do not find support for either the NIMBY syndrome or the Fukushima effect. On the contrary, we find support for a “reverse-NIMBY” among low-income residents, when they are treated with information on nuclear energy’s low local air pollution (health). Our findings suggest that support for nuclear energy varies across population groups and depends on how its local benefits and costs are framed.

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... The term "NIMBY syndrome" (not-in-my-backyard syndrome) was coined in the 1980s by social scientists to describe the resistance of communities to the construction of controversial facilities in their vicinity [29]. However, substantial evidence currently exists showing the "reverse NIMBY" for nuclear energy, highlighting the positive perceptions of people living in close proximity to nuclear power plants [30][31][32][33]. For instance, a similar study carried out in the U.K. in 2011 (n = 1326) reported a decrease in perceived risk and a positive attitude of people in proximity to the nuclear power stations at Oldbury and Hinkley Point [34]. ...
... Similarly, other evidence from the U.S. suggests that people living in proximity to nuclear reactors are less likely to perceive greater risk [35]. However, researchers from Japan found that proximity to the Fukushima nuclear power plant had no impact on public support for nuclear energy after the 2011 tsunami and nuclear incident [30]. This study provides further evidence that decreased proximity to nuclear power plants is associated with improved perceptions of nuclear energy. ...
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Perception towards nuclear energy is a vital factor determining the success or failure of nuclear projects. An online survey obtained attitudes toward nuclear energy, opinions on whether benefits of nuclear energy outweigh the risks, and views of using nuclear energy as an energy source. A total of 4318 participants from across the U.S. completed the survey. Logistic regression was used to predict perceptions of nuclear energy by participant demographics and geographical location. Participants living closest to Idaho National Laboratory (INL) were more likely to have positive attitudes towards nuclear energy (aOR: 7.18, p < 0.001), believe the benefits were greater than the risks (aOR: 4.90, p < 0.001), and have positive attitudes toward using nuclear energy as an electricity source (aOR: 5.70, p < 0.001), compared to people living farther from INL. Males and non-Hispanic white participants were more likely to have positive perceptions of nuclear energy. Developing and implementing awareness raising campaigns for people living further away from nuclear power plants, targeting females and Hispanic whites, may be key to improving the overall perceptions of nuclear energy.
... The general public tends to overestimate the risks when assessing the effect of facilities on their living area [9]. Song et al. [39] show that a major obstacle to nuclear energy as a decarbonization policy is the public's perception of the risk of nuclear radiation leaks from reactors. Residents oppose the location of nuclear reactors in their community because they overestimate the risk related to these facilities. ...
... The causes of NIMBY conflicts, including those related to WTE projects, have been studied by numerous scholars from different perspectives. Previous studies either ignore the critical role of risk perception [6,8,[10][11][12][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37] or emphasize its role, but do not propose methods or indices for calculating and measuring changes in the risk perception of surrounding residents [13,14,[16][17][18][39][40][41]. We suggest that the risk perception threshold is a good indicator for determining changes in the risk perception of surrounding residents. ...
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... The NIMBY effect has been reported against hazardous chemical factories [26] and nuclear power plants [35], although this is the first time, to the best of the authors' knowledge, that it is reported for microalgal production facilities. Previous reports demonstrated that the expected benefits of a NIMBY facility including social benefits and job opportunities can promote public acceptance, although expectations about potential risks such as pollution, or an impact on health or safety can generate public opposition [36]. Thus, based on the responses received herein, it is of key importance to inform citizens about the many benefits of microalgae and microalgal production, as the trade-off between perceived benefits and risks is a critical determinant of the acceptance of NIMBY facilities. ...
... Thus, based on the responses received herein, it is of key importance to inform citizens about the many benefits of microalgae and microalgal production, as the trade-off between perceived benefits and risks is a critical determinant of the acceptance of NIMBY facilities. For example, local economic benefits can reduce public opposition to nuclear power plants in Japan [36]. Because of the many positive aspects of microalgal production, it is likely that a marketing strategy highlighting the benefits of microalgal production to the region would promote the acceptance of existing and novel production plants in the region. ...
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The production of microalgal biomass and products derived thereof for a wide variety of applications is a hot research topic, with the number of facilities being built and products and biologically active molecules launched into the market increasing every year. The aim of the current study was to identify the attitudes of citizens in Almería (Spain) and Livorno (Italy) towards the construction of a microalgae production plant and a biorefinery in their cities and also their opinions about the microalgae-based products that could be produced. Overall, in Almería (Spain), a NIMBY (not in my back yard) attitude towards the construction of a microalgal production facility and especially towards a microalgal biorefinery was observed, despite the strong microalgal industry in the region and the higher knowledge of citizens about microalgae. In both locations, but especially in Livorno (Italy), microalgae-based biostimulants, biofertilisers, and aquafeeds were well accepted. Proximity was the main factor affecting the acceptance of a microalgae producing facility. Consumer knowledge about microalgal biotechnology and the health and environmental benefits of this valuable raw material are scarce, and opinions are based on drivers other than knowledge. After gaining more knowledge about microalgal biorefineries, most of the responses in Almería (47%) and Livorno (61%) were more positive.
... Public participation has become an important force in monitoring the pollution behavior of manufacturing enterprises. However, there may be a series of problems such as the " NIMBY (not-inmy-backyard) syndrome " and mass incidents if the public is not properly guided, which are not only detrimental to social stability but also to local economic development [75,76]. Therefore, the government should guide and cultivate the public's rational awareness of environmental protection by strengthening the publicity of environmental knowledge, improving the public participation mechanism, and promoting the disclosure of environmental information, so that public participation can be effectively used. ...
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Green innovation is vital for manufacturing enterprises to achieve a balance between economic, environmental and social benefits. This paper empirically investigates the mechanisms of government subsidies, R&D investment and public participatory environmental regulation on green innovation in manufacturing enterprises, selecting a sample of 1308 manufacturing firms listed on Chinese A-shares from 2010–2019. The results show that government subsidies can significantly promote green innovation in manufacturing enterprises, with private enterprises being more pronounced. R&D investment plays a mediating role in green innovation in manufacturing enterprises, while public participatory environmental regulation has a negative impact. The moderating effect of public participatory environmental regulation on government subsidies is different on different green patents, with a more negative effect on green invention patents than on green utility model patents. Public participatory environmental regulation has a negative moderating effect on the green innovation of state-owned manufacturing enterprises while having no significant effect on private manufacturing enterprises.
... It is quite frequent that EIA procedures become a sort of 'battle field' for two or more factions that, for many possible reasons (environmental, ideological, economic, social) strongly oppose or strongly support the project at hand: one of the most Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. straightforward exemplifications is the so called 'NIMBY (not in my backyard) syndrome,' which describes people generally favorable to a given typology of projects, provided they are not located near their dwellings (Brown and Glanz 2018, Boyle et al 2019, Uji et al 2021. ...
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... With the dissemination of information, environmental risk will be gradually transformed into social risk, which is manifested as environmental mass emergency and leading to the failure or shelve of NIMBY projects [8,9]. e dissemination process is influenced by many factors, including residents' risk perception, trust in government, project site selection, population density, public education, residents' income level, etc. [10][11][12][13][14][15][16]. Besides, stigmatization adds fuel to the transformation. ...
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NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) projects are easily stigmatized due to their environmental risk. Stigmatization enlarges residents’ risk perception, urges residents to spread information, and takes actions to resist project implementation, causing environmental mass emergency. Taking paraxylene (PX) project as an example, information dissemination model of NIMBY project under stigmatization based on SEIR model in small world network was established, and the information dissemination process and characteristics of NIMBY project under stigmatization were simulated and analysed. The results show that (1) the public risk perception deviation caused by stigmatization promotes residents to disseminate information; (2) stigmatization has a greater impact on the information dissemination of NIMBY project with low environmental risk; (3) stigmatization accelerates the speed of information dissemination and increases the number of residents participating in information dissemination in different dissemination environment. The contribution of this paper is that SEIR model in small world network is used to verify the role of stigmatization in promoting information dissemination of NIMBY project by comparing the information dissemination before and after stigmatization.
... The term NIMBY emerged in the 1980s, due to protests by local communities against the location of a hazardous waste dump in their neighborhood. Since then, protests over the location of various types of facilities have begun to be addressed: wind farms [14,[50][51][52][53], livestock farms [54], prisons [55], hazardous waste landfills [56,57], biogas plants [58,59], homeless assistance centers [60,61], renewable energy [62,63], and nuclear reactors [64][65][66][67]. ...
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... In some cases, poor communities might support the location of "undesirable" facilities in their communities because of local economic benefits. SeeThorpe (2015) on the location of prisons in poor rural area andUji et al. (2021) on restarting nuclear plants in Japan in the aftermath of Fukushima. ...
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... 12 In general, public opinion greatly influences policy design as well as its adoption, especially in democratic countries (e.g., Burstein 2003). In fact, within and outside Japan's context, a large strand of literature examines public opinion/support for nuclear energy, which is deemed to shape national energy policy (e.g., Poortinga et al. 2013;Uji et al. 2021). Additionally, studies examining public opinion response to the Fukushima disaster find that it had significant effects upon individuals' policy preferences, which has been linked to subsequent policy choices by governments (e.g., Poortinga et al. 2013;Latré et al. 2017;Böhmelt 2020). ...
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Public support for nuclear power generation has decreased in Japan since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in March 2011. This study examines how the factors influencing public acceptance of nuclear power changed after this event. The influence factors examined are perceived benefit, perceived risk, trust in the managing bodies, and pro-environmental orientation (i.e., new ecological paradigm). This study is based on cross-sectional data collected from two online nationwide surveys: one conducted in November 2009, before the nuclear accident, and the other in October 2011, after the accident. This study's target respondents were residents of Aomori, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures in the Tohoku region of Japan, as these areas were the epicenters of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the locations of nuclear power stations. After the accident, trust in the managing bodies was found to have a stronger influence on perceived risk, and pro-environmental orientation was found to have a stronger influence on trust in the managing bodies; however, perceived benefit had a weaker positive influence on public acceptance. We also discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings. © 2015 Society for Risk Analysis.
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There are relatively few direct tests of the economic effects of asymmetric information because of the difficulty in identifying exogenous information measures. We propose a novel exogenous measure of information based on the quality of property tax assessments in different regions and apply this to the U.S. commercial real estate market. We find strong evidence that information considerations are significant. Market participants resolve information asymmetries by purchasing nearby properties, trading properties with long income histories, and avoiding transactions with informed professional brokers. The evidence that the choice of financing is used to address information concerns is mixed and weak.
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Debates over initiating war with Iraq turned to a considerable extent on which of two analogies from the past were most relevant: World War II or the Vietnam War. Along with three other theoretical conditions, the debate provided an unusual opportunity to develop and assess important implications of Mannheim's theory of generational effects. National data gathered before the war and during the war indicate that generational experience had a significant effect on which analogy was chosen as more relevant and that the analogy chosen had, in turn, a strong relation to support for or opposition to the war. However, the translation of generational experience into final support for or opposition to the war was weak. Reasons for the weak relationship are discussed.
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The Fukushima nuclear disaster has significantly changed public attitudes toward nuclear energy. It is important to understand how this change has occurred in different countries before the global community revises existing nuclear policies. This study examines the effect of the Fukushima disaster on public acceptance of nuclear energy in 42 countries. We find that the operational experience of nuclear power generation which has significantly affected positive public opinion about nuclear energy became considerably negative after the disaster, suggesting fundamental changes in public acceptance regardless of the level of acceptance before the disaster. In addition, contrary to our expectation, the proportion of nuclear power generation is positively and significantly related to public acceptance of nuclear energy after the Fukushima accident and government pressure on media content led to a greater decrease in the level of public acceptance after the accident. Nuclear energy policymakers should consider the varied factors affecting public acceptance of nuclear energy in each country depending on its historical, environmental, and geographical circumstances before they revise nuclear policy in response to the Fukushima accident.
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The nuclear accident in Fukushima and the subsequent discussions about nuclear power influenced public acceptance of this technology. The aim of the present study was to examine why after the Fukushima accident some people converted from supporting nuclear power to opposing it or became undecided. Data from a longitudinal telephone survey with two measurement points were used. The first survey was conducted about 15 months before the accident in Fukushima and the second survey was conducted about 20 months after. The sample consisted of 561 respondents from the German- and French-speaking regions of Switzerland. Results suggest that changes in benefits perception were mainly responsible for people׳s changes in attitude toward nuclear power. People perceived somewhat more risks related to nuclear power after the accident in Fukushima. This change in risk perception did not explain the attitudinal changes of proponents into opponents of nuclear power, however.
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In the June 1987 issue of this Review, Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter offered evidence to support their argument that “the new environmental movement in the United States is partly a symbolic issue,” that elites in the news media and in public interest groups misrepresent the dangers of nuclear energy as a surrogate for more direct criticism of liberal capitalism in the United States. In this controversy, Charles J. Helm expresses skeptictem about the Rothman-Lichter line of argument; and they respond.
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We assessed the influence of the Fukushima nuclear accident (FNA) on the Chinese public's attitude and acceptance of nuclear power plants in China. Two surveys (before and after the FNA) were administered to separate subsamples of residents near the Tianwan nuclear power plant in Lianyungang, China. A structural equation model was constructed to describe the public acceptance of nuclear power and four risk perception factors: knowledge, perceived risk, benefit, and trust. Regression analysis was conducted to estimate the relationship between acceptance of nuclear power and the risk perception factors while controlling for demographic variables. Meanwhile, we assessed the median public acceptable frequencies for three levels of nuclear events. The FNA had a significant impact on risk perception of the Chinese public, especially on the factor of perceived risk, which increased from limited risk to great risk. Public acceptance of nuclear power decreased significantly after the FNA. The most sensitive groups include females, those not in public service, those with lower income, and those living close to the Tianwan nuclear power plant. Fifty percent of the survey respondents considered it acceptable to have a nuclear anomaly no more than once in 50 y. For nuclear incidents and serious incidents, the frequencies are once in 100 y and 150 y, respectively. The change in risk perception and acceptance may be attributed to the FNA. Decreased acceptance of nuclear power after the FNA among the Chinese public creates additional obstacles to further development of nuclear power in China and require effective communication strategies.
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Past opinion polls have shown that major nuclear accidents can have a serious impact on public attitudes. Drawing on a values-beliefs-norms (VBN) model of environmental commitment, the authors hypothesized that a major nuclear accident may also affect the most durable cognitive and cultural foundations that underpin public perceptions of nuclear power. For 32 Italian participants, the authors assessed perceptions of nuclear power and values 1 month before and after the Fukushima nuclear accident. Participants reported decreases in nuclear trust, environmental organization trust, and pronuclear attitudes; they reported a significant increase in environmental beliefs assessed by the new ecological paradigm and a marginally significant increase in altruism. Major nuclear accidents may have the potential to influence values and proenvironmental beliefs, probably for the reason that they are the basis of public attitudes toward nuclear power.
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It is tempting to attribute variations in support for nuclear power to prominent accidents such as Three Mile Island in the United States or Fukushima in Japan. To illuminate how such attribution can be problematic, the authors discuss the historical context of the Three Mile Island accident in the United States. They point out that the US nuclear industry faced major challenges even before the 1979 accident: Forty percent of all US reactor cancellations between 1960 and 2010, they write, occurred before the accident in Pennsylvania. While safety concerns were undoubtedly a driver of public aversion to new nuclear construction in the United States, the nuclear industry already faced substantial economic and competitiveness obstacles, much like the nuclear industry worldwide before Fukushima.
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With all energy production systems there are environmental issues to be considered, risks to be assessed, and challenges to be addressed. It must be emphasized that an ideal energy source that is at the same time efficient, cost-effective, environment-friendly, and risk-free does not exist. There are always some necessary trade-offs to be made, in order to ensure optimal use of energy resources, while limiting environmental and health impacts. Nuclear energy is currently the only technology with a secure base-load electricity supply and no greenhouse gas emissions that has the potential to expand at a large scale. However, the spent fuel and safety issues must be addressed. Another base-load electricity source – the fossil-burning power plants – although affordable, emits various air pollutants (chemical and radioactive effluents, dust, ash, etc.), which are dispersed from a power source and transported through various pathways that could lead to the general population exposure. This paper summarizes current status and future trends in base-load electricity sources in the U.S., including environmental footprints, new regulatory requirements, and cost issues. It also presents an analysis of challenges that need to be overcome and opportunities that could us lead us closer to a sustainable energy future.
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Utilizing a longitudinal study design, the impact of the 2011 accident in Fukushima on acceptance of nuclear power and the evaluation of several scenarios with different percentages of nuclear power were examined. Mail surveys were conducted in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The first survey took place before the accident in Fukushima (Autumn 2010), the second survey immediately after the accident (March 2011), and the third survey half a year after the accident (October 2011). A sample of 463 persons participated in all three surveys. The accident had a negative impact on the acceptance of nuclear power. The mean change was moderate, and high correlations between the measurement points were observed. Overall, participants thus showed rather stable attitudes towards nuclear power across the three measurement waves. Results of the present study demonstrate the importance of prior beliefs and attitudes for the interpretation of an accident. The evaluation of the various scenarios was strongly influenced by participants’ pre-Fukushima attitudes towards nuclear power.
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In this paper, the author focuses on Minnesota`s unsuccessful attempt to site a hazardous waste stabilization and containment facility, but argues that this should not be seen as another siting failure due to irrational and self-interested citizens who subverted a well-conceived and essential disposal facility. Through a detailed comparison of citizen and elite claims about the facility, the author shows that many of the sources of disagreement between citizens and siting officials involve value tradeoffs rather than technical issues, and contend that state officials` views on these matters should not take precedence. Through partisan probing, citizens actually contribute to effective policymaking rather than detract from it.
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Public opinion about energy can be understood in a unified framework. First, people evaluate key attributes of energy sources, particularly a fuel's cost and environmental harms. Americans, for example, view coal as relatively inexpensive but harmful, natural gas as less harmful but more expensive, and wind as inexpensive and not harmful. Second, people place different weights on the economic and environmental attributes associated with energy production, which helps explain why some fuels are more popular than others. Americans' attitudes toward energy are driven more by beliefs about environmental harms than by perceived economic costs. In addition, attitudes about energy sources are largely unrelated to views about global warming. These findings suggest that a politically palatable way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is through regulation of traditional pollutants associated with fossil fuels, rather than a wholly new carbon policy.
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Past research has documented high levels of public concern for risks relating to nuclear power, with opposition to nuclear energy particularly being linked with general environmental concern. However recent UK energy policy, and other debates worldwide, has led to a repositioning of nuclear power as a 'low carbon' electricity source with potential benefits for mitigating climate change. Whilst many previous studies have examined perceptions of climate change and nuclear energy separately, this large British public attitude survey explores relationships between the two as well as with perceptions of other energy sources. Both general environmental concern and concerns about climate change were linked with positive evaluations of renewables and negative evaluations of nuclear power. We conclude that, despite the policy positioning of nuclear power as a low carbon electricity source, most people concerned about climate change continue to perceive nuclear negatively, something partially explained by general environmental concerns.
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Media discourse and public opinion are treated as two parallel systems of constructing meaning. This paper explores their relationship by analyzing the discourse on nuclear power in four general audience media: television news coverage, newsmagazine accounts, editorial cartoons, and syndicated opinion columns. The analysis traces the careers of different interpretive packages on nuclear power from 1945 to the present. This media discourse, it is argued, is an essential context for understanding the formation of public opinion on nuclear power. More specifically, it helps to account for such survey results as the decline in support for nuclear power before Three Mile Island, a rebound after a burst of media publicity has died out, the gap between general support for nuclear power and support for a plant in one's own community, and the changed relationship of age to support for nuclear power from 1950 to the present.
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Rapid expansion of nuclear power in China requires not only increasing institutional capacity to prevent and adequately cope with nuclear risks, but also increasing public trust in governmental agencies and nuclear enterprises managing nuclear risks. Using a case study on Haiyang nuclear power plant in Shandong province, public participation, communication, information disclosure and trust regarding nuclear policy and industry are investigated among Chinese citizens living close to nuclear facilities. The results show that development and decision-making on nuclear power are dominated by an ‘iron nuclear triangle’ of national governmental agencies, nuclear industries, and research organizations. The public, media and NGOs are neither informed nor involved. In contrast to low levels of public trust in governmental authorities advocating nuclear energy in western countries after Fukushima (Japan), Chinese respondents have still high levels of trust in governmental authorities (but not in state-owned nuclear power companies) regarding nuclear information provision, emergency response to nuclear accidents, and decision making on the country’s nuclear future. A proven record in risk management and lack of alternative information sources explains this trust. As overall trust and credibility in China’s governmental authorities is waning, and absence of transparency and public scrutiny proved fatal in Fukushima, the Chinese government has to develop a strategy for public involvement and information disclosure in nuclear power development in the post-Fukushima era.
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In response to the threat of climate change, many governments have set policy goals to rapidly and extensively increase the use of renewable energy in order to lessen reliance upon fossil fuels and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Such policy goals are ambitious, given past controversies over large-scale renewable energy projects, particularly onshore wind farms, that have occurred in many countries and involved bitter disputes between private developers and local ‘NIMBYs’ (not in my backyard) protestors. This article critically reviews recent research into how public engagement is conceived and practiced by policy makers and developers, with a specific focus upon the UK. The review reveals a distinction between different scales of technology deployment, with active public engagement only promoted at smaller scales, and a more passive role promoted at larger scales. This passive role stems from the influence of widely held NIMBY conceptions that presume the public to be an ‘ever present danger’ to development, arising from a deficit in factual knowledge and a surfeit of emotion, to be marginalized through streamlined planning processes and one-way engagement mechanisms. It is concluded that NIMBYism is a destructive, self-fulfilling way of thinking that risks undermining the fragile, qualified social consent that exists to increase renewable energy use. Breaking the cycle of NIMBYism requires new ways of thinking and practicing public engagement that better connect national policy making with local places directly affected by specific projects. Such a step would match the radical ambitions of rapid increases in renewable energy use with a process of change more likely to facilitate its achievement. WIREs Clim Change 2011 2 19–26 DOI: 10.1002/wcc.89 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website
Article
The ‘NIMBY’ (Not In My Back Yard) concept is commonly used to explain public opposition to new developments near homes and communities, particularly arising from energy technologies such as wind farms or electricity pylons. Despite its common use, the concept has been extensively critiqued by social scientists as a useful concept for research and practice. Given European policy goals to increase sustainable energy supply by 2020, deepening understanding of local opposition is of both conceptual and practical importance. This paper reviews NIMBY literature and proposes an alternative framework to explain local opposition, drawing upon social and environmental psychological theory on place. Local opposition is conceived as a form of place-protective action, which arises when new developments disrupt pre-existing emotional attachments and threaten place-related identity processes. Adopting a social constructivist perspective and drawing on social representation theory, a framework of place change is proposed encompassing stages of becoming aware, interpreting, evaluating, coping and acting, with each stage conceived at multiple levels of analysis, from intrapersonal to socio-cultural. Directions for future research and potential implications of the place-based approach for public engagement by energy policy-makers and practitioners are discussed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
In this paper, I focus on Minnesota's unsuccessful attempt to site a hazardous waste stabilization and containment facility, but argue that this should not be seen as another siting failure due to irrational and self-interested citizens who subverted a well-conceived and essential disposal facility, Through a detailed comparison of citizen and elite claims about the facility, I show that many of the sources of disagreement between citizens and siting officials involve value trade-offs rather than technical issues, and contend that state officials’ views on these matters should not take precedence. Through “partisan probing,” citizens actually contribute to effective policymaking rather than detract from it.
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the hypothesis that factors that determine public acceptance of nuclear facilities in a general situation are different from factors that determine public acceptance of nuclear facilities in a siting situation by using a causal model. A survey was conducted in Japan with 1,000 randomly selected adult participants. The results were that in a general situation, both perceived risk and perceived benefit are important for public acceptance of nuclear facilities. In addition, in a siting situation, perceived risk is very important for public acceptance of nuclear facilities, whereas perceived benefit has little importance for public acceptance. Thus, for discussions concerning public acceptance of a facility associated with risk, it is important to clarify whether the viewpoint of a general situation or the viewpoint of a siting situation should be adopted.
Article
Nuclear energy has received substantial recent attention, marketed as a ‘green’ solution to global climate change (GCC) with calls for new reactors. However, considerable debate exists about whether it represents a viable solution to GCC. Given the complexity and urgency of the issue, a full and balanced debate is desirable. Since media play an important role in shaping public perception, we examined print media coverage of proposed reactors in Georgia—one site in the southeastern United States, which has been the focus of such proposals. We analysed the content of editorials and news articles from two local newspapers—the Augusta Chronicle and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The former exclusively published pro-nuclear opinion pieces whereas the latter published a mix of pro- and anti-nuclear opinions. The majority of news articles in both newspapers generally presented balanced arguments. Pro- and anti-nuclear arguments most often reflected economic and environmental benefits and risks, whereas informational text primarily detailed regulatory processes and financing. Findings suggested that informational text was not necessarily ‘neutral’, sometimes masking covert pro- and anti-nuclear content. Implications for how findings might shape public opinion and strategies for shaping media and extending public deliberation are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Major nuclear accidents, such as the recent accident in Fukushima, Japan, have been shown to decrease the public's acceptance of nuclear power. However, little is known about how a serious accident affects people's acceptance of nuclear power and the determinants of acceptance. We conducted a longitudinal study (N= 790) in Switzerland: one survey was done five months before and one directly after the accident in Fukushima. We assessed acceptance, perceived risks, perceived benefits, and trust related to nuclear power stations. In our model, we assumed that both benefit and risk perceptions determine acceptance of nuclear power. We further hypothesized that trust influences benefit and risk perceptions and that trust before a disaster relates to trust after a disaster. Results showed that the acceptance and perceptions of nuclear power as well as its trust were more negative after the accident. In our model, perceived benefits and risks determined the acceptance of nuclear power stations both before and after Fukushima. Trust had strong effects on perceived benefits and risks, at both times. People's trust before Fukushima strongly influenced their trust after the accident. In addition, perceived benefits before Fukushima correlated with perceived benefits after the accident. Thus, the nuclear accident did not seem to have changed the relations between the determinants of acceptance. Even after a severe accident, the public may still consider the benefits as relevant, and trust remains important for determining their risk and benefit perceptions. A discussion of the benefits of nuclear power seems most likely to affect the public's acceptance of nuclear power, even after a nuclear accident.
Article
This paper proposes that when optimally answering a survey question would require substantial cognitive effort, some repondents simply provide a satisfactory answer instead. This behaviour, called satisficing, can take the form of either (1) incomplete or biased information retrieval and/or information integration, or (2) no information retrieval or integration at all. Satisficing may lead respondents to employ a variety of response strategies, including choosing the first response alternative that seems to constitute a reasonable answer, agreeing with an assertion made by a question, endorsing the status quo instead of endorsing social change, failing to differentiate among a set of diverse objects in ratings, saying ‘don't know’ instead of reporting an opinion, and randomly choosing among the response alternatives offered. This paper specifies a wide range of factors that are likely to encourage satisficing, and reviews relevant evidence evaluating these speculations. Many useful directions for future research are suggested.
Article
The wind energy debate represents a new kind of environmental controversy which divides environmentalists of different persuasions who attach contrasting priority to global and local concerns. Case studies of public attitudes towards existing and proposed windfarm developments in Scotland and Ireland are used to test three counter-intuitive hypotheses derived from previous attitudinal research. These are: (a) that local people become more favourable towards windfarms after construction; (b) that the degree of acceptance increases with proximity to them; and (c) that the NIMBY syndrome(not-in-my-back-yard) does not adequately explain variations in public attitudes. All three hypotheses are supported by this study. Large majorities favour wind power development in principle and in (local) practice. Although some aspects of NIMBY attitudes exist, the surveys reveal an 'inverse NIMBY' syndrome, whereby those with windfarms in their 'backyard' strongly support the technology. The research endorses the view that aesthetic perceptions, both positive and negative, are the strongest single influence on individuals' attitudes towards wind power projects. Comparison of the current institutional factors driving wind energy development with those during earlier eras of hydro-power development and large-scale afforestation emphasizes the need for strategic planning guidance. The potential for using a planning-led approach to windfarm developments by adopting 'Indicative Windfarm Strategies' is discussed.