Background
In Korea, the Radiation Fusion Technology Valley project (RFT Valley) has been under construction near a small city under the direction of its local government. In the beginning, local residents raised strong opposition to it but, at the present time they appear to be more accepting and show manifest no overt objections to it. However, the local public seems to remain skeptical about both the safety issues and the potential benefits of the project to them personally.

Objective
This study attempted to tease out what underlies the local public’s ambivalent attitudes toward the Valley project and its results will be helpful in further facilitating communication between the Valley and the local population, so that the public’s concerns and hopes might be addressed more efficiently and efficaciously.

Method
This study consisted of two telephone surveys (in October, 2006 and November, 2007) in which 600 randomly selected respondents were interviewed about their perceptions of both radiation technology in general and the Valley project in particular. In addition, face‐to‐ face interviews with forty respondents were conducted in October, 2007 to discover in more detail the factors underlying their ambivalent attitudes.

Results
The surveys revealed that local people for the most part had positive feelings about the project. However, they still had some residual doubts as to both the safety of radiation technology and the question of whether the economic benefits would ever actually materialize in a way which would be beneficial to them.
Though these doubts are, for the most part, not openly expressed and, in some people, may even be unconscious, they may, nonetheless play a real role at some future date. Our analysis shows that there is at least one more factor which is motivating people to accept the project: a very strongly held concern about the impact on the local community if this project is not completed is a fundamental apprehension which seems to be assuaging their doubts, somewhat.

Conclusion
This study revealed that the ambivalent public attitudes toward the RTF Valley project stems from their various concerns. The reasons of this present outcome might be clarified during the course of further anysis in the future.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

An investigation of ambivalent public attitudes toward a major scientific/industrial project in Korea

Sung Cho   Chungnam National University

Eun Cho   Chungnam National University

Hak‐Soo Kim   Sogang University

Background
In Korea, the Radiation Fusion Technology Valley project (RFT Valley) has been under construction near a small city under the direction of its local government. In the beginning, local residents raised strong opposition to it but, at the present time they appear to be more accepting and show manifest no overt objections to it. However, the local public seems to remain skeptical about both the safety issues and the potential benefits of the project to them personally.

Objective
This study attempted to tease out what underlies the local public’s ambivalent attitudes toward the Valley project and its results will be helpful in further facilitating communication between the Valley and the local population, so that the public’s concerns and hopes might be addressed more efficiently and efficaciously.

Method
This study consisted of two telephone surveys (in October, 2006 and November, 2007) in which 600 randomly selected respondents were interviewed about their perceptions of both radiation technology in general and the Valley project in particular. In addition, face‐to‐ face interviews with forty respondents were conducted in October, 2007 to discover in more detail the factors underlying their ambivalent attitudes.

Results
The surveys revealed that local people for the most part had positive feelings about the project. However, they still had some residual doubts as to both the safety of radiation technology and the question of whether the economic benefits would ever actually materialize in a way which would be beneficial to them.
Though these doubts are, for the most part, not openly expressed and, in some people, may even be unconscious, they may, nonetheless play a real role at some future date. Our analysis shows that there is at least one more factor which is motivating people to accept the project: a very strongly held concern about the impact on the local community if this project is not completed is a fundamental apprehension which seems to be assuaging their doubts, somewhat.

Conclusion
This study revealed that the ambivalent public attitudes toward the RTF Valley project stems from their various concerns. The reasons of this present outcome might be clarified during the course of further anysis in the future.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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