At present, the most influencing factor on nuclear power’s development in China the public’s attitude and acceptance. This paper studies the public perception of nuclear power risk in China, and provides several feasible methods to improve the quality and effectiveness of public perception level. Therefore, the public acceptance of nuclear power can be ameliorated greatly, which will help the development of nuclear power industry.
For decades, the environment pollution has become one of the most serious and urgent problems in China. Since nuclear power has been proved to be a type of low-carbon and environment-friendly energy, striving to develop nuclear power is a good solution to China’s environment issues. However, by the end of 2015, China’s nuclear power’s electricity production share was only 3.03%, which was far below the average level of developed countries. This situation might be partly due to technical and economic reasons, but the essential cause of the restricted development of nuclear power in China is the public perception of nuclear power risk is far from objective and comprehensive, which leads to the public acceptance of nuclear power is not as high as expected.
This paper states that public perception process of nuclear power risk is a dynamic, complex and closed system, which consists of the risk, the transformation of the risk and related information (both truth and rumors), the public perception process and public’s acceptance of the risk, and the public’s actions after receiving the information. The public’s actions often react on the risk perception. Nuclear power risk, unfortunately, is usually magnified, and it makes people become more frightened and oppose nuclear power more seriously.
In order to solve those issues, in this paper, the public risk perception’s characteristics and external influencing factors are studied, a model describes the public perception process of nuclear power risk is developed and analyzed, and the causes of current acceptance level of nuclear power (which is relatively low) are explained. In addition, based on this model, methods to conduct effective risk communication and public education on nuclear power are provided, the future of nuclear power in China can be much better.