Policy decision-making, public involvement and nuclear energy: what do expert stakeholders think and why?

Nan Li, Dominique Brossard, Leona Yi Fan Su, Xuan Liang, Michael Xenos, Dietram A. Scheufele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite renewed interest in involving the general public in energy and environmental policymaking, little is known about how policy stakeholders with specialized knowledge and extensive experiences perceive the value of such activity. This study seeks to explore how a series of social, cognitive, and communication factors relates to expert stakeholders’ attitudes toward public involvement in energy policymaking. Using data from a national survey of key stakeholders involved in making high-level decisions on nuclear energy, we find governmental stakeholders are more likely to think public involvement is important when perceiving public opinion as being split. Scientists and non-profit stakeholders, however, attach high-level importance to public involvement regardless of their perception of public opinion. Additionally, the perception of a divided public for the issue of nuclear energy is driven by frequent use of online media. Perceived importance of a salient media agenda–the economics of nuclear facilities–is also significantly related to one's perceived split in public opinion. Implications of the findings with respect to promoting a two-way dialogue among citizens and expert stakeholders in science policymaking are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-279
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Responsible Innovation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • nuclear energy
  • online media
  • public involvement
  • public opinion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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