Public participation processes related to nuclear research installations: what are the driving factors behind participation intention?

Public Underst Sci. 2014 Apr;23(3):331-47. doi: 10.1177/0963662513476405. Epub 2013 Feb 24.


This article addresses organised public participation processes related to installations for nuclear research. The aim was to determine predictors that could provide an empirical insight into the motivations underlying people's intended level of involvement. The results highlight attitude towards participation and moral norm as the strongest predictors for participation intention. Other significant predictors were time constraints, attitude towards nuclear energy, subjective and descriptive norms, and knowledge. An opposing relationship is noted between participation intention and attitude towards nuclear energy. At the same time, people who are more knowledgeable about the nuclear domain seem more willing to get involved. The analysis also revealed that financial benefits do not influence people's intended involvement in participation processes related to nuclear research installations. The results reported here are based on empirical data from a large-scale public opinion survey (N = 1020) carried out in Belgium during May-June 2011.

Keywords: governance of science and technology; predictors; public participation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude
  • Belgium
  • Community Participation / psychology*
  • Community Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knowledge
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Nuclear Reactors*
  • Public Opinion*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult