Public participation and trust in nuclear power development in China

G. He, A.P.J. Mol, L. Zhang, Y. Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid expansion of nuclear power in China requires not only increasing institutional capacity to prevent and adequately cope with nuclear risks, but also increasing public trust in governmental agencies and nuclear enterprises managing nuclear risks. Using a case study on Haiyang nuclear power plant in Shandong province, public participation, communication, information disclosure and trust regarding nuclear policy and industry are investigated among Chinese citizens living close to nuclear facilities. The results show that development and decision-making on nuclear power are dominated by an ‘iron nuclear triangle’ of national governmental agencies, nuclear industries, and research organizations. The public, media and NGOs are neither informed nor involved. In contrast to low levels of public trust in governmental authorities advocating nuclear energy in western countries after Fukushima (Japan), Chinese respondents have still high levels of trust in governmental authorities (but not in state-owned nuclear power companies) regarding nuclear information provision, emergency response to nuclear accidents, and decision making on the country’s nuclear future. A proven record in risk management and lack of alternative information sources explains this trust. As overall trust and credibility in China’s governmental authorities is waning, and absence of transparency and public scrutiny proved fatal in Fukushima, the Chinese government has to develop a strategy for public involvement and information disclosure in nuclear power development in the post-Fukushima era.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • environmental information disclosure
  • radioactive-waste
  • risk
  • governance
  • attitudes
  • uk


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