People with higher levels of education and higher incomes have a lower levels of trust in governments and higher levels of trust in scientific institutions


Besides reporting on the Fukushima accident, Chinese media have been openly supportive to government-sponsored technological developments, and China showed a more steady expansion of nuclear industry compared to Western countries in the years after the Fukushima accident (Bradsher, 2011, as cited in He et al., 2014). This expansion was carried out with limited public transparency. This inspired He and colleagues to conduct a 2014 study, in which they investigated the knowledge, attitudes, and trust of Chinese citizens regarding nuclear power (He et al., 2014). Results of this study showed that the knowledge of Chinese nuclear power and radiation risk was relatively low (e.g. 50% of participants did not know any nuclear power plant in China). In general, participants labelled the government as the most trustworthy source of information about risks but also as the most trustworthy agent in a case of nuclear accident. Since companies running nuclear power plants in China are perceived as under governmental control, more than 40% participants labelled them as trustworthy, which is higher than in most Western countries. Only 14% of participants in this study were against building new power plants in China, while 60% stated that the nuclear programme should be further developed if the government had decided that it would be safe. People with higher education and those with higher income showed somewhat lower trust in the government and greater trust in scientific institutions with regards to information about nuclear risks. This study did not reveal any gender or age differences in the level of acceptance of nuclear power (He et al., 2014).

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