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How deliberation changes public opinions on nuclear energy: South Korea's deliberation on closing nuclear reactors

Philseo Kim, Jihee Kim and Man-Sung Yim

Applied Energy, 2020, vol. 270, issue C, No S0306261920306061

Abstract: This study analyzes public opinion change on energy with a detailed examination of the directional differences using comprehensive national data. The data comes from the recent deliberative polling process in South Korea on the construction of Shin-Kori nuclear reactor units 5 and 6. We specifically examined why certain people change from the “oppose” to “support” and vice versa by considering the nonlinearity effects of the demographic factors and knowledge acquired during the deliberation. By employing logistic regression analysis, we find that for the change of opinion from ‘resume/defer (not stop)’ to ‘stop’ construction of Shin-Kori units 5 and 6, the level of education, political ideology, household income, gender, and knowledge gain were found to be significant factors. On the other hand, the level of education, age, and political ideology were significant factors influencing the change of opinion from ‘stop/defer (not resume)’ to ‘resume’ construction. In addition, we find that the role of learning depends on political ideology: knowledge gain intensified the political divides on the issue. We also show that the significance of those demographic factors, especially political ideology, may come from the difference in risk perception and economic/stability assessment of the Shin-Kori nuclear power plants. The findings provide a deepened insight for policymakers around the world who may pursue public consensus building on national energy transition.

Keywords: Public opinion; Deliberative polling; Nuclear power; Knowledge gain effect (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.115094

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