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The Time Contradictions of Nuclear Energy

Philippe Blanchard
University of Warwick
Philippe Blanchard
University of Warwick
Open Panel

Abstract

Nuclear energy is a remarkable case of conflict between time horizons and time rhythms. Each actor implied or wishing to be implied in the implementation of the nuclear policy obeys specific time patterns, either explicitly or implicitely. The controversy that has been running since the beginning of the French national plan of industrial development of nuclear energy shows obvious contradictions and conflicts between these times. This paper aims at describing some of these contradictions and conflicts and how they determine the controversy. An extensive thirty-year long content analysis of newspaper and TV news programs shows how the exchanges of argu,ents between proponents of the controversy shape and reshape the issue and influence public opinion and public action regarding nuclear energy. It helps understand why no substantial policy change occurred, in spite of the numerous events related to nuclear energy in France and abroad.