The Fukushima Accident. Reflection in the Media and the Public Opinion in Belgium

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This paper analyses the impact of the accident in Fukushima in the Belgian media and public opinion. We study how mass media reported about the accident in Japan and how the public opinion related to nuclear energy changed. The research methodology consisted of: i) content analysis of two quality newspapers in Belgium, covering the first two months after the accident; and ii) public opinion research, based on more than 1000 personal interviews conducted in Belgium in the third month after the accident. The results show that the accident induced enormous media coverage in the first weeks after the accident, with focus on many different topics; yet, attention decreased with time and narrowed down to the future of nuclear, safety and crisis management aspects. It is also argued that historic nuclear accidents became part of the collective memory influencing media reporting and public opinion. As expected, the Fukushima nuclear accident has induced changes in the public opinion and atitudes towards nuclear energy.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association (on internet:
Place of PublicationGlasgow, United Kingdom
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
EventIRPA 2012 - 13th International Radiation Protection Association Congress - Society for Radiological Protection (SRP), Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 May 201218 May 2012


ConferenceIRPA 2012 - 13th International Radiation Protection Association Congress
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Fukushima nuclear accident, media reporting, public opinion

ID: 306149