Available at: 09.10.2017_No201 / News in Brief
6 Oct (NucNet):
The coordinator of a three-year research project that aims to explain how societies and the nuclear energy industry have engaged with each other over the last 60 years said preliminary findings reveal a history of lack of confidence in regulatory agencies. Albert Presas i Puig told NucNet that research for the History of Nuclear Energy and Society (HoNESt) project, which is funded by Euratom’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, suggests that one of the frequent problems when talking about the acceptance of nuclear energy in some countries is the public’s lack of confidence in the regulatory agencies, which are supposed to play an independent role in granting permission for the construction of nuclear power stations and evaluating safety. “Historically speaking, this can be seen in the public’s growing mistrust concerning the information which these regulatory bodies provided,” Mr Presas i Puig said. The HoNESt project covers issues such as safety, risk perception and communication, societal acceptance and engagement, and the media. The project is the work of a team of researchers in 24 partner institutions across Europe and the US, led by the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Mr Puig said the team had now completed the part of the project dedicated to the collection and analysis of historical data. He said societal perceptions and societal acceptance of a technology matter for the development of nuclear technology. “Nuclear energy is facing great challenges which are a major concern to modern societies,” he said. “The problems are complex and encompass not only economic, national and international policy, and security-related issues, but also include cultural, social and environmental factors. In this context there is a clear need for systematic reflection on the nuclear energy option, this time taking historical experiences into account.