Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Nuclear Power Risk Perception in Serbia: Fear of Exposure to Radiation vs. Social Benefits

 Nuclear power remains one of the most accessible choices in addressing environmental and social concerns due to the continuously increasing energy needs around the world. While it remains an excellent source of energy due to its low price and low level of emissions, potential accidents remain a serious problem. An example of such is the most recent accident in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (2011), which reminded the world of the potential risks of nuclear energy and the consequences of which continue to have a lasting effect. There is no nuclear power plant in Serbia, but there are about 15 nuclear power stations scattered within its neighboring countries. Therefore, the Serbian Government decided to study how the Serbian public perceives the risks related to the potential construction of nuclear power stations in the country, nuclear energy in general, and its possible benefits and risks. The objective of this paper is to present the results of this assessment along with a literature overview on the (environmental) risk of nuclear power. A pilot study consisted of a series of 270 randomized face-to-face interviews that took place in the public square of Belgrade in March 2019. Logistic regression was used to examine the cumulative effects of the different risk factors. The results showed that the majority of the respondents are skeptical and do not support the construction of nuclear power stations in Serbia. Furthermore, this research identified several additional important correlations that have a significant impact on the public perception of risk.

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