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Public Participation in Decision Making on Nuclear ( Research ) Installations. Catrinel Turcanu , Tanja Perko Institute for Environment, Health and Safety Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK•CEN [email protected] 13th International IRPA Congress,13-18 May 2012, Glasgow, Scotland

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Public Participation in Decision Making on Nuclear (Research) Installations

CatrinelTurcanu, Tanja Perko

Institutefor Environment, Health and Safety

BelgianNuclear Research Centre SCK•CEN

[email protected]

13th International IRPA Congress,13-18 May 2012, Glasgow, Scotland

TS4b: Processes, Methodologies and Tools in Stakeholder Engagement


  • We all know that public & stakeholder involvement is important

    …. however

  • Motivating people to participate in public involvement activities is a major challenge

    • Who wants to be involved?

    • What are the reasons behind (non)participation?

    • What can be improved?

The theory of planned behaviour extensions
The Theory of Planned Behaviour & extensions

Behavioural beliefs

Attitude towards behaviour




Normative beliefs

Subjective norm

Descriptive norm

Actual behavioural control

Perceived behavioural control

Control beliefs

After I. Ajzen (2006)

Study of participation behaviour method
Study of participation behaviour - Method

  • Data

    • National survey in the Belgian population: (N>1000)

    • Sample representative for Belgian 18+ population

    • Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (35 to 45 min at respondent’s home)

  • Model

    • Predictors based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (ext) +

    • Socio demographic (gender, age); past behaviour

    • Attitude towards nuclear

    • Risk perception & confidence in authorities

Results 1
Results (1)

  • Model 1: sample split in two categories

    • No involvement at all vs. some degree of involvement

  • Results

    • Most influential: Attitude towards participation and moral norms

    • Also significant: subjective norms and time constraints

    • Financial benefits and risk perception: inconsequential

Results 2
Results (2)

  • Model 2: only people who would like to be involved

  • Results

    • Strongest predictors: attitude towards participation, moral norms and time constraints

    • Also significant: descriptive norms and general attitude towards nuclear energy; subjective norms less influential

    • Weak influence: past participationand gender

    • As before, financial benefits and risk perception are inconsequential


Most people (70%) would like to get involved to a certain degree; and to be able to at least express their opinion (52%)

For higher degrees of involvement: convince people that participation is worthwhile and brings benefits to the decision-making process

Citizens’ culture plays an important role

Time constraints are recognized as a challenge, but financial benefits are inconsequential

Long term programmes of stakeholder involvement are necessary, with early involvement at the outset of the process