The disputes over nuclear energy, Stuttgart 21 (rebuilding of Stuttgart’s main station to an underground through station), radioactive waste, green genetic engineering and nanotechnology show that innovative technology developments are increasingly exposed to an ‘acceptance test’ in the public. This test may delay or even prevent a development, but it may also indicate possible failures and induce corrective measures. Fusion technology to generate electricity is being developed since several decades, but a commercial breakthrough is to be expected only in another few decades. However, it is already controversial whether the high investment required for further R&D work is justified or not.
The empirical study carried out by DIALOGIK analysed the perception and evaluation of fusion energy by selected parts of the population. The researchers conducted in total four focus groups, one with journalists, one with graduated students with a technological background and two with citizens. The study identified emerging patterns of perception and developed on this basis the main features of an effective risk communication program.
The full report is now available. Please contact IPP.