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The rationality of acceptance in a nuclear community: analysing residents' opinions on the expansion of the SNF repository in the municipality of Eurajoki, Finland

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The project to build a final disposal repository for Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) in the municipality of Eurajoki, Finland, is approaching its 2012 deadline for the application of a construction licence. At the same time, the nuclear waste company Posiva is already planning to expand the disposal capacity of the repository. This paper addresses the question of acceptance among the residents of Eurajoki regarding the repository's expansion, and examines what aspects should be taken into consideration when explaining local opinions. The local acceptance figures for Eurajoki are analysed in relation to assumptions of the six common explanation types. The relationship between information deficit, social trust, benefit-cost calculation, perceived moral responsibility, perceived risks and threats, and acceptance of nuclear power, on the one hand, and local acceptance of expanding the repository both for current actors and for possible other domestic operators, on the other, is explored. The data provided in the paper is based on a survey carried out in June 2008. The respondents were selected from the residents of the municipality of Eurajoki and the neighbouring municipalities using stratified random sampling (N = 3000). The response rate of the survey was 20% (N = 606).

Keywords: local opinions, nuclear acceptance, disposal expansion, disposal repository, final disposal, spent nuclear fuel, SNF, Olkiluoto, Finland, nuclear energy, nuclear power, nuclear waste, local residents, information deficit, social trust, cost-benefit calculation, perceived moral responsibility, perceived risks, perceived threats

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