Suggestions on strengthening nuclear science popularization in the new era

As a clean and low-carbon energy, nuclear energy will play an important role in the clean energy transformation. Doing a good job in popularizing nuclear science and creating a friendly atmosphere for public opinion has become one of the important foundations for the healthy and sustainable development of the nuclear industry.

1 background

Nuclear energy plays an important role in the context of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality. Climate warming is internationally recognized as one of the major threats facing humanity. In order to accelerate the adoption of green development and lifestyle, more and more countries and cities have put forward the goal of carbon neutrality.  Nuclear energy is clean, low-carbon, safe, efficient and high-quality energy. It is the inevitable choice for China to actively respond to climate change, fulfill emission reduction commitments and clean and low-carbon development, and achieve the vision of carbon peak and carbon neutrality.

Public communication has become an important factor restricting the development of nuclear energy. Public support is an important factor in determining whether a nuclear energy project can take off. High public acceptance can make the promotion and implementation of projects and policies more smooth, while low public acceptance will lead to unnecessary troubles and problems, affect the normal progress of projects, and even lead to the shelving and failure of projects, as well as social contradictions and instability.

2 Existing problems

The effect of nuclear science popularization is poor. Our nuclear science popularization work started late, the foundation is thin, the nuclear science work is not in place, so the public's cognition and understanding of nuclear energy and nuclear safety need to be further improved. The lack of scientific and rational publicity and guidance of positive public opinion by relevant units of nuclear science popularization, and the lack of effective response to some non-scientific and irrational anti-nuclear views and opinions have affected the public's acceptance of nuclear science and even affected the government's decision-making.

The legitimacy of nuclear energy development lacks legislative protection. In the new era, especially the public opinion crisis of nuclear energy enterprises caused by the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, many domestic nuclear power projects, nuclear fuel industrial parks and spent fuel reprocessing projects have been put on hold or even cancelled. In 2013, a plan to build a large nuclear fuel processing plant in Jiangmen, Guangdong province, was cancelled after fierce opposition from nearby residents.

Nuclear-related information tends to ferment negatively. With the rapid development of information technology and the birth of Weibo, wechat and We-media, information spreads at an extremely fast speed. Some false and exaggerated information related to nuclear energy has aroused public fear and opposition to nuclear energy, hindering the development of nuclear energy industry. After the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, various versions of the rumors spread one after another, and there were crazy incidents of salt grabbing in many places, which brought great potential social instability. False news such as "a giant oyster was discovered in Japan" greatly caused public panic, and the subsequent official denial of rumors could not stop the public panic psychology.

3 Related Suggestions

First, we will promote public communication and make science popularization regular. It has organized thematic, nationwide and mass nuclear science popularization activities to spread nuclear knowledge widely. Systematic knowledge of nuclear science has been introduced into the relevant curricula of primary, secondary and university students, and the nuclear science literacy of leading Party and government officials has been improved, and the knowledge of popular nuclear science has been incorporated into the training curricula of leading cadres in Party schools at all levels.

Second, the correct guidance of online public opinion. We will give full play to the role of mainstream government websites, release facts in various forms, and publish articles on policy interpretation and scientific popularization at an appropriate time. The role of authoritative media should be played to isolate non-mainstream remarks. Famous officials and scholars are invited to communicate with netizens. Through rational analysis and explanation by experts, false and incomplete information is clarified and public opinion is guided in a rational and controllable direction. Organize the network comment team, around the hot and difficult issues on the Internet, timely publish positive comments, gradually occupy the heights of public opinion.

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