Years Active: 2009-2014

Summary

Climate change is arguably the greatest challenge the world is currently facing. The threats posed by climate change call for strong action from the international community to limit carbon emissions.

Before the Fukushima accident that followed the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, both Britain and Japan were considering nuclear power as part of their strategy to reduce carbon emissions. However, the accident may have thrown nuclear power as a publicly acceptable energy technology into doubt. Within this context it is important to explore public attitudes to climate change, nuclear power, and other energy technologies and systems, as they are critical to achieving environmental sustainability targets and energy security.

The aim of this research project was to make a detailed cross-national comparison of the long-term impacts of the Fukushima accident on public attitudes to nuclear power and climate change. The research involved a nationally representative survey that was conducted in March 2013. This British survey was coordinated with a similar survey in Japan conducted in February 2013. The surveys covered attitudes to different forms of electricity generation, trade-offs between nuclear energy and climate change, trust in risk regulation, and views on the future of nuclear power in Britain or Japan.

The results are contrasted with a number of nationally representative surveys that were conducted in Britain and Japan at different stages before and after the Fukushima accident, allowing the project to show how the accident may have changed debates about nuclear power and energy generation in the two countries

The project is led by Cardiff University and conducted in partnership with the National Institute of Environmental Studies (NIES), Tsukuba, Japan.