Date: 13 Nov 2009

Perception of people for the risk of Tianwan nuclear power plant

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A questionnaire survey of residents’ risk perceptions related to Taiwan nuclear power plant in China was carried out to explore the determining factors that affect individual risk perception. This study proposed to pursue a more comprehensive understanding of factors that affected individual risk perception to nuclear power plants. Covariance structure analysis was conducted using risk perceptions of nuclear power as dependent variable and including interest and knowledge levels of nuclear power, acceptability, benefit perception, trust in nuclear power operation, and trust in government as independent variables. The use of the hypothesis of Elaboration likelihood model (ELM) was also proposed. The results showed that persons with higher levels of interest and knowledge of nuclear power had their own perceptions of risk closely associated with acceptability and potential benefits of nuclear power. In contrast, persons with no interest in and knowledge of nuclear power would have risk perceptions related to their trust in nuclear operation and the government, which partially supported the ELM hypothesis. All these results indicated that the government in China plays an important role in rational risk perceptions, and well-designed communication of risks will help the public to be involved in risk management and improve people’s rational acceptance of risk.