Social bases of nuclear energy policies in Europe

The social bases of nuclear energy policies in Europe: Ideology, proximity, belief updating and attitudes to risk

Fabio Franchino, Università degli Studi di Milano

European Journal of Political Research, Volume 53, Issue 2, pages 213–233, May 2014

A summary of this article is available on the EUROPP blog of the London School of Economics and Political Science

This article analyses the social bases underpinning the widely different trajectories of nuclear energy policies across Western European countries. Employing a set of surveys carried out in the last thirty years, it examines the conditional effects of ideology and geographical proximity to a nuclear power plant on attitudes toward nuclear energy, as well as the long- and short-term dynamics of belief updating after the occurrence of major accidents. Results highlight how proximity can strengthen, weaken or have no effect on the ideological component of these attitudes. Moreover, the publics of most countries with experience in nuclear energy display the traits of Bayesian dynamics of belief updating, especially in the vicinity of a plant. The article also shows the fairly exceptional traits of French public opinion. In conclusion, the broad social constraints within which governments operate, across time and space, shed light on the different policy trajectories of European countries.

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Phasing-out and Phasing-in Nuclear Energy in Europe

Phasing-out and Phasing-in: The Comparative Politics and Policies of Nuclear Energy in Europe
Edited by Wolfgang C. Müller and Paul W. Thurner
1 Nuclear Energy in Western Europe: Revival or Rejection? An
Wolfgang C. Müller & Paul W. Thurner
2 Understanding Policy Reversals and Policy Stability
Wolfgang C. Müller & Paul W. Thurner
3 Comparative Policy Indicators on Nuclear Energy
Paul W. Thurner & Wolfgang C. Müller
4 The Conflict over Nuclear Energy: Public Opinion, Protest Movements,
and Green Parties in Comparative Perspective
Paul W. Thurner, Martin Dolezal, Swen Hutter, Sylvain Brouard,
Isabel Guineaudau, Wolfgang C. Müller
5 Austria: Rejecting Nuclear Energy—From Party Competition Accident
to State Doctrine
Wolfgang C. Müller
6 Nuclear Energy Politics in Belgium: Big Business and Politics
Marc Swyngedouw
7 Nuclear Politics in France: High Profile Policy and Low Salient Politics
Sylvain Brouard & Isabelle Guinaudeau
8 Germany: Party System Change and Policy Reversals
Paul W. Thurner
9 Italy: Leading and Lagging: Innovation, Delays and Coalition Politics
in Nuclear Energy Policy
Fabio Franchino
10 Nuclear Power and Politics in the Netherlands.
Kees Aarts & Maarten Arentsen
11 The Will of the People? Swedish Nuclear Power Policy
Sören Holmberg & Per Hedberg
12 Switzerland
Hanspeter Kriesi
13 Conclusion: Nuclear Energy Policy Reversals in Europe