Abstract

The need for investment in new nuclear is vital to achieve the decarbonization targets put forward by governments around the world (particularly in the UK) and secure the supply of energy for generations to come. For governments to invest in this costly and time-consuming solution public support is needed, something that has traditionally been difficult to attain. Similarities can be seen between the way nuclear is perceived today and how perceptions of the European Union were utilized to great effect in the British referendum on membership. Understanding of the real issues, targeting the right sections of the public and use of secondary messaging all combined to win a referendum for a side that was given very little hope of victory. A referendum type question on nuclear power would be similarly divisive with large supporter bases against the technology. Therefore, these lessons must be understood if the nuclear industry is to continue to grow and thrive in the modern and future low carbon economies.

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