9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN22 Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Nuclear Power Building I, 2E4

'No, thanks' or 'Yes, please'? Social Perceptions of Nuclear Power in Lithuania

This paper aims to reveal what social, economic and environmental concerns are reflected in nuclear risk perceptions and what context specific factors are shaping public attitudes towards nuclear power in Lithuania.
This paper is based on the results of representative public opinion survey (N=1000), conducted in 2008 for the project "Risk perceptions, public communication and innovative governance in knowledge society" (RINOVA), funded by the Lithuanian State Science and Studies Foundation (for period of 2007-2009). The research is using complex theoretical and methodological model to explain risk perceptions of technological and environmental issues.
Placed in the scope of various environmental and technological threats, nuclear power risks are perceived as lower than the risks from e.g. food preservatives or ozone layer depletion. That leads to the search for specific contextual factors that shape public opinions on nuclear power in Lithuania, as surveys in other countries indicate that nuclear risks are usually rated among the highest in comparison with other technological threats/ issues. Such contextual factors include mainly concerns of energy and economic independence from external sources, leaving environmental concerns, such as radioactive waste storage or threat of possible accident of lower public concern.
Paper also discusses the issues of trust, knowledge, and social amplification shaping public attitudes towards nuclear power dilemmas in Lithuania.