Public Attitude to Nuclear Energy from Climate Change and Energy Security Perspectives in Turkey

Korkmaz YILDIRIM, Musa GÜN


Abstract. Most of the energy-environmental policy studies have argued nuclear energy since the second half of the 20th century as it includes a number of risk factors such as high cost of plant building, radiation, diseases, power plant accidents, nuclear waste, nuclear weapon proliferation and terrorism. The length and severity of the nuclear energy debates vary from country to country based on the several factors, in particular, the economic and social development level of the countries. Due to increasing global environmental concerns such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, natural research depletion, deforestation, ozone layer depletion and recent problems that countries experienced in terms of energy security, especially for such developing countries as Turkey, the governments have relaunched nuclear energy program again and follow their energy policy agenda in spite of occasional anti-nuclear protests in the society. In this regard, the main purpose of this study is to evaluate the public attitude in Turkey to nuclear energy in terms of environmental values like climate change and energy security and at the same time to examine reconciliation of environmental values and energy security with public attitude to nuclear energy. In the literature, many studies concerning environmental values, energy security, and attitudes towards nuclear energy have been conducted for only industrialized countries such as the USA, England, and Japan. However, developing countries with a high energy demand, technical and financial difficulties for low-carbon and renewable energy technology have been neglected, which is the source of inspiration and motivation for this study. The main finding of the study is that environmental values, especially, climate change plays a more important role in public attitude to nuclear energy in the community than energy security, which might be evaluated as an essential input for relevant stakeholders on energy policy in Turkey.

Keywords. Nuclear energy, Public attitude, Climate change, Energy security.

JEL. O13, Q42, Q54.


Nuclear energy, Public attitude, Climate change, Energy security

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