LECAD researchers, together with external collaborators and researchers from abroad, have conducted a study on public attitudes towards fusion energy. The results of the study are published in the renowned journal Energy Research & Social Science (IF: 6.7).

If it can be made to work, fusion energy offers the potential for unlimited, clean energy. This prospect has seen substantial investment in the science and engineering behind fusion in order to demonstrate its viability. As key societal stakeholders, the opinions and actions of publics can shape the success of emerging energy technologies.

To date, however, there have been relatively few studies focused on the public acceptability of fusion. The current study provides insight into public perspectives about fusion in five European countries (Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia and Spain). Using a qualitative ‘World Café’ type method, participants (n = 10–25 per country) were provided with basic and balanced information about fusion, before being invited to discuss the risks, benefits and drawbacks of the technology and investment in its development.

The results indicated that while awareness of fusion was low in each country, participants were broadly supportive of fusion. This stimulated questions about the value of investment in the technology, particularly given the urgency of addressing climate change. These findings add to our systematic understanding of the ‘mixed feelings’ held about fusion and have implications for future public engagement and communication efforts relating to the technology.

Skip to content