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2017 - 4S Annual Meeting Words: 301 words || 
1. Lee, Bitna. and Kim, So Young. "Expert-Expert Gap? A Study of Heterogeneity in Risk Perceptions among Nuclear Experts and Its Implications for Risk Governance" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston Hotel, Boston MA, Aug 30, 2017 <Not Available>. 2019-12-09 <>
Publication Type: Paper Abstract
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Many decisions on technically complex issues such as nuclear energy are based on the judgment of experts, with the facts that the public believes as true often being simply experts’ opinion. Such high dependence on scientific experts in risk governance means that the perceptions and opinions of scientific experts - often accepted as facts by non-scientists – are critical in the decision-making process. In this regard, it is crucially important to understand how facts are socially constructed among the experts.
This study explores heterogeneity in risk perceptions and consensus making process among nuclear experts in South Korea. With the catastrophic nuclear accidents of the last few decades (most recently the 2011 Fukushima accident), risk governance has become a focal point in nuclear policymaking. The South Korean nuclear expert community provides a strategic research site in many ways. As a major nuclear energy country with the geopolitical concerns with the fuel cycle issue, South Korea has long seen its nuclear engineers and scientists grappling with the problem of nuclear risk communication. In the course of handling multiple risk issues such as nuclear safety, security, and even nonproliferation, South Korean nuclear experts have developed nuanced positions on specific policy decisions rather than making a unified pro-nuclear voice. Based on the in-depth interviews of nuclear experts in government research institutes, universities, the nuclear industry, and the relevant ministries as well as the archival analysis of key policy documents, we uncover the diversity of expert views towards the degree of nuclear risks and the political and technical feasibility of managing them. One of the contributions of this study is to appreciate the tensions within the expert community and thereby help to design a better interface – whether institutions or policies – for the governance of knowledge as well as for knowledge in governance.

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