Socio economic studies on fusion

Socio economic studies on fusion

A successful fusion research programme must lead to an energy source that is both economically feasible and socially acceptable. As the EUROFUSION Programme takes a first step towards commercialisation of fusion energy with the ITER experiment, social and economic implications acquire greater importance.

The social part of the studies focuses on measuring the public opinion on fusion, collecting relevant sociological knowledge related to the acceptability of fusion as a contribution to a sustainable future energy system, and on clarifying ways to contribute to a proper governance of the fusion effort.

Work on public attitudes in the last years has been aimed at investigating various psycho-social dimensions such as awareness of fusion, attitudes towards siting, place and identity, perception of risk, basis for understanding by different social groups or lay reasoning about new information in multiple contexts. On-going activities within the Social Studies in this area include the design and implementation of a dedicated section on public attitudes towards fusion energy included in the Belgian SCK•CEN Barometer. The latter provides in-depth analysis and serves as a large scale pilot study in the preparation of a future multi-national survey. The survey will address various dimensions of the public attitudes such as knowledge/familiarity; perception of risks and benefits / general attitude.

Stakeholder engagement describes the process by which an organisation involves people who may be affected by the decisions it makes, or can influence the implementation of its decisions. They may support or oppose the decisions an organization takes, be affected by those decisions in the long-term, be influential in the organization or within the community in which it operates, or they may hold relevant positions in industry or government (Weston et al., 2014). On-going research activities in this area include the work carried out to enhance the Eurofusion communication strategy (SES-COMMs Group). This engagement option aims to improve the main tools developed by EUROfusion to communicate with the general public:  Fusion Expo, EUROfusion Web Page, other informative materials. A pilot multi-method (or mixed-method) strategy is developed to gather evidence from both, transmitters and receivers of such communication strategies, and use this evidence to enhance its effectiveness. Another specific objective is the design and (preliminary) implementation of a dialogue (in the form of a reflection group at the EU level) between social researchers, modellers and representatives from civil society (‘users’ of the storylines) with the objective of exploring the potential role of qualitative scenario story lines for fusion power.

Research on media content and media framing has pointed to the possibility that media can change the original message on relevant and often controversial topics such as energy technology developments by intensifying, weakening and/or filtering the information. As such, media are not just neutral intermediaries of information: they modify the information in the process, and this might influence the recipients of their messages.

Empirical social research on fusion-related media analysis has been aimed at :

  • Gaining more insight into the public understanding of fusion technologies through studying the media frames of these nuclear technologies in both classic news media, such as newspapers in selected countries, and social media.
  • Developing ‘communication tools’ which are of practical use, in order to contribute to the quality of the public debate on nuclear fusion technologies.

 

Estatuto: 
Participant entity
Financed: 
Yes
Entidades: 
EFDA. European Fusion Development Agreement
Rede: 
Funded under the Euratom research and training programme 2014-2018 e 2019-2020 (Grant Agreement No 633053) in partnership with IST (Portugal), CIEMAT-CISOT (Spain), SCK-CEN (Belgium), ENEA-RFX (Italy), IPP (Germany), University of Surrey (United Kingdom)
Keywords: 

Nuclear fusion, Media, Attitudes, Science communication

A successful fusion research programme must lead to an energy source that is both economically feasible and socially acceptable. As the EUROFUSION Programme takes a first step towards commercialisation of fusion energy with the ITER experiment, social and economic implications acquire greater importance.

The social part of the studies focuses on measuring the public opinion on fusion, collecting relevant sociological knowledge related to the acceptability of fusion as a contribution to a sustainable future energy system, and on clarifying ways to contribute to a proper governance of the fusion effort.

Work on public attitudes in the last years has been aimed at investigating various psycho-social dimensions such as awareness of fusion, attitudes towards siting, place and identity, perception of risk, basis for understanding by different social groups or lay reasoning about new information in multiple contexts. On-going activities within the Social Studies in this area include the design and implementation of a dedicated section on public attitudes towards fusion energy included in the Belgian SCK•CEN Barometer. The latter provides in-depth analysis and serves as a large scale pilot study in the preparation of a future multi-national survey. The survey will address various dimensions of the public attitudes such as knowledge/familiarity; perception of risks and benefits / general attitude.

Stakeholder engagement describes the process by which an organisation involves people who may be affected by the decisions it makes, or can influence the implementation of its decisions. They may support or oppose the decisions an organization takes, be affected by those decisions in the long-term, be influential in the organization or within the community in which it operates, or they may hold relevant positions in industry or government (Weston et al., 2014). On-going research activities in this area include the work carried out to enhance the Eurofusion communication strategy (SES-COMMs Group). This engagement option aims to improve the main tools developed by EUROfusion to communicate with the general public:  Fusion Expo, EUROfusion Web Page, other informative materials. A pilot multi-method (or mixed-method) strategy is developed to gather evidence from both, transmitters and receivers of such communication strategies, and use this evidence to enhance its effectiveness. Another specific objective is the design and (preliminary) implementation of a dialogue (in the form of a reflection group at the EU level) between social researchers, modellers and representatives from civil society (‘users’ of the storylines) with the objective of exploring the potential role of qualitative scenario story lines for fusion power.

Research on media content and media framing has pointed to the possibility that media can change the original message on relevant and often controversial topics such as energy technology developments by intensifying, weakening and/or filtering the information. As such, media are not just neutral intermediaries of information: they modify the information in the process, and this might influence the recipients of their messages.

Empirical social research on fusion-related media analysis has been aimed at :

  • Gaining more insight into the public understanding of fusion technologies through studying the media frames of these nuclear technologies in both classic news media, such as newspapers in selected countries, and social media.
  • Developing ‘communication tools’ which are of practical use, in order to contribute to the quality of the public debate on nuclear fusion technologies.

 

Objectivos: 
.
Parceria: 
International networ

SES-Fusion

Coordenador 
Start Date: 
01/04/2012
End Date: 
31/12/2020
Active