The Moon government used a ‘deliberative poll’ to decide whether to proceed with the additional Shin-Kori plants. This technique was developed by James Fishkin, a professor of communication at Stanford University, California, and has been used to debate topics ranging from public-servant career reform in Brazil to political reform in the United Kingdom. In September 2017, a representative sample of 500 voters was selected on the basis of administrative district, gender and age group, and was sent briefing materials. The next month, the group was brought together for three days of discussions with neutral moderators and pro- and anti-nuclear experts. Participants were briefed on the distribution of earthquake fault lines, the safety features and other technological advances in the planned reactors, and the location of reactors near highly populated areas. Discussions were broadcast throughout the country. The final vote on 15 October was unambiguous but surprising. Nearly 60% of respondents voted to resume construction. Yet 53.2% voted to decrease the share of nuclear in the country’s energy mix, with 35.5% voting to maintain and 9.7% voting to expand it. It was a nuanced position: respondents thought construction at Shin-Kori should continue for economic reasons; they also thought that nuclear energy should be decreased in the long run for safety reasons. Following the poll, the government resumed work on the two plants at Shin-Kori but cancelled plans to construct six more. There have been no violent protests since.
Nature 21st March 2018 read more »