Who is willing to participate Examining public participation intention concerning decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Belgium

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  • UA - Universiteit Antwerpen
  • Universität Stuttgart

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Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) is now a pertinent energy-related matter since most of the nuclear reactors built during nuclear renaissance will soon reach the end of their operational life. Drawing on the theoretical framework based on elements of the Value-Belief-Norm theory, psychometric paradigm, deliberative theories of democracy and in the levels of participation as defined by Arnstein's ladder, this is the first large-scale study addressing the question of who is willing to participate in decommissioning-related decision-making procedures. Data for this study were collected via a large public opinion survey (N = 1028) in Belgium in 2015, and were analyzed using Structural Equations Modelling (SEM) as a method. Results show that interest on the topic of decommissioning as well as radiological risk perception have direct effects on participation intention. Furthermore, we found that low trust in the nuclear industry, being ideologically leftist, having more negative attitudes towards nuclear energy, and living in the vicinity of a nuclear installation influences participation intention indirectly, through interest and risk perception. Based on these findings we point out to some challenges that can appear in decision-making processes and some recommendations on how to prevent or solve them.


Original languageEnglish
Article number112488
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Participation intention, Decommissioning of nuclear power plants, Risk perception, Interest, SEM

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