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Dr. John Besley Awarded Grant from National Science Foundation

Dr. John C. Besley has received a $42,936 grant from the National Science Foundation to study American perceptions of nuclear energy in the wake of the spring 2011 accident in Fukushima, Japan.

The grant will allow Besley to conduct a third wave of data collection on individuals who have already been asked about nuclear energy twice in recent years. The additional survey will enable an assessment of the degree to which pre-existing attitudes shaped post-disaster attitudes about nuclear energy.

"Some polls in the press right after the Fukushima disaster seemed to show that overall support for nuclear energy took a hit, but I wonder whether that decline was across the board or whether it was primarily in people who were already apprehensive," said Besley. "I'm excited to see what kind of impact it had on people who had said they strongly supported nuclear energy and who paid a lot of attention to the accident."

Besley's research in science and risk communication emphasizes the role that citizens' views about decision-makers and communication processes play in how people view emerging technologies, including biotechnology, nanotechnology and various energy technologies. He is currently receiving funding from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for his work.

"We need to understand how communication impacts how people think about energy technologies if we're going to make any progress on solving big problems like climate change and air pollution," adds Besley.

Data collection is already underway.

 

 
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