Nuclear energy

The issue of phasing out or rebuilding and upgrading of existing nuclear power plants represents one of the current biggest energy policy challenges. The planning and decision making process is not affected only by objective criteria (particularly economic costs, benefits and potential environmental and security risks) but also soft factors, such public perceptions of pros and cons of nuclear power. Our research group investigated the socioeconomic contexts and environmental risks of potential upgrading and/or closure of the oldest Czech nuclear power plant - Dukovany. We expanded theoretical knowledge of socio-spatial dynamics of nuclear power plants implications for host regions. The effects of the power plant on regional development were assessed by analysing long-term statistical data about the regional labour markets, communing and unemployment rates in the surrounding municipalities, and potential negative impacts of possible closure of the plant on regional development were estimated. An extensive survey of local communities in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant was carried out to identify and classify factors that affect public perceptions of positive socioeconomic impacts and environmental risks of the plant and attitudes to future development scenarios. The logistic regression model of public support for the power plant upgrading based on data from survey may serve energy companies and politicians in creating public relation strategies for improving the image of nuclear power plants and support of future development. We provided a new empirical evidence that the public support for rebuilding of the nuclear power plant is not directly affected by spatial distance of residence from the power plant or perceptions of regional and local economic impacts, but is more influenced by general perceptions of pros of nuclear power (as a clean energy contributing to climate change mitigation or - on the contrary - a significant environmental and security risk).

  • Frantal, B., Maly, J. (2017): Close or renew? Factors affecting local community support for rebuilding nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic. Energy Policy, 104, 134-143. (IF (2016) = 4.140; Q1 in Environmental Sciences).
  • Frantal, B., Maly, J., Ourednicek, M., Nemeskal, J. (2016). Distance matters. Assessing socioeconomic impacts of the Dukovany nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic: Local perceptions and statistical evidence. Moravian Geographical Reports, 24(1): 2-13. (IF (2016) = 2.149; Q2 in Geography).