The (de)politicisation of nuclear power: The Finnish discussion after Fukushima

Marja Ylönen (Corresponding Author), Tapio Litmanen, Matti Kojo, Pirita Lindell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    When the Fukushima accident occurred in March 2011, Finland was at the height of a nuclear renaissance, with the Government's decision-in-principle in 2010 to allow construction of two new nuclear reactors. This article examines the nuclear power debate in Finland after Fukushima. We deploy the concepts of (de)politicisation and hyperpoliticisation in the analysis of articles in the country's main newspaper. Our analysis indicates that Finnish nuclear exceptionalism manifested in the safety-related depoliticising and the nation's prosperity-related hyperpoliticisation arguments of the pro-nuclear camp. The anti-nuclear camp used politicisation strategies, such as economic arguments, to show the unprofitability of nuclear power. The Fukushima accident had a clear effect on Finnish nuclear policy: the government programme of 2011 excluded the nuclear new build. However, in 2014 the majority of Parliament again supported nuclear power. Hence, the period after Fukushima until 2014 could be described as continued but undermined loyalty to nuclear power.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)260-274
    JournalPublic Understanding of Science
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • (de)politicisation
    • Finland
    • Fukushima
    • nuclear power debate


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