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Research project Citizens' Dialogue Nuclear Energy (1974 – 1983) – „Lessons from the past“

Brief description

A so far hardly researched factor in the debates about nuclear energy in the Federal Republic of Germany is a broad public engagement process carried out in the second half of the last century. In response to the growing public opposition to the construction of nuclear power plants, the then Federal Minister of Research, Hans Hermann Matthoefer, launched the "Citizens' Dialogue on Nuclear Energy" in the year of 1974.

This three-year research project aims to explore the "Citizens' Dialogue on Nuclear Energy" from 1974 to 1983 in a comprehensive and interdisciplinary manner, assess it from today's perspective and investigate whether and how the knowledge gained can be used for the current site selection process of a nuclear waste disposal. The analysis will include perspectives from the science of history, political science, and communication and participation science. It focused on the period from the start of the citizens' dialogue to the final decision for an exploration of the Gorleben salt dome. The project carries out extensive research of public and private archives. In addition, the researchers will conduct interviews with contemporary witnesses.

DIALOGIK has special expertise in designing citizen dialogues. The results of the planned research will provide further information on how citizens can continue to be involved in the selection process for a site for a repository for high-level radioactive waste in order to find a solution that is supported by a broad societal consensus.

The project has been commissioned by the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BASE). The BASE is responsible for public participation in the site selection process. The research results will be made publicly available.

DIALOGIK contribution

  • Research in archives as the basis for in-depth, computer-aided qualitative data and text analysis with the MAXQDA software program.
  • Classification of the Citizens‘ Dialogue from the point of view of today's knowledge of public engagement
  • Derivation of knowledge for current location selection procedures of a final nuclear waste disposal.

Project partners

DIALOGIK contributes as subcontractor to IZT - Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment gemeinnützige GmbH, Berlin (project management). Another project partner is Gorleben Archive e.V., Lüchow.