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Risk perception of nuclear power plants among university students in Northeast Asia after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

ABSTRACT

To examine the perception of nuclear energy risks among Asian university students following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a standardized questionnaire survey was conducted since July 2011 after the Fukushima disaster. A total of 1814 respondents from 18 universities in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan participated in this survey. It showed that students with the following characteristics had a higher preference for "a clear schedule to phase out nuclear power plant (NPP)": females (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.84, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.44-2.34), in Japan (aOR = 2.81, 95% CI = 2.02-3.90), in China (aOR = 1.48, 95% CI = 1.04-2.09), and with perceived relative risks of cancer incidence greaterthan 1 (aOR = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.07-1.88). "If nuclear energy were phased out," the opinions on potential electricity shortage were as follows: Japan, aOR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.40-0.69; China, aOR = 2.46, 95% CI = 1.75-3.45; and associated with academic majors (science/technology, aOR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.31-0.59; medicine/health science, aOR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.49-0.84). The results carried essential messages for nuclear energy policy in East Asia.