Quantitative Cross-country Analysis of Nuclear Power Discourse in Politically Distinct India and Russia
Discourse is the debate over reality. Discourse determines the frame through which the public perceives an issue, its value and consequently impacts the future policy of a country. Discourse has been investigated in many fields of study, especially those studies dealing with political and social themes such as nuclear power. For example, Rashidi and Rasti (2012) analysed the representation of social actors implicated in Iran’s nuclear discourse in the Western press.
In their attempt to investigate the Western news arguments on the Iranian nuclear programme, the authors found ideological bias in presenting the Iranian stand, which resulted in the unjust treatment of Iran. Another study on Iran’s nuclear energy programme made by Izadi and Saghaye- Biria (2007) analysed three elite American newspapers. This study found that the orientation of the dominant press in the US towards Iran’s nuclear programme was to emphasis the Islamic nature of Iran and link it to threats of assumed Iranian nuclear weapons programme. The study shows that formal logic opens large possibilities to hide, emphasise and even change information through adopting tactics such as hidden logical mistakes, thesis replacement or justification of the thesis by false arguments. Based mainly on Van Dijk’s concept of the ‘ideological square’, Izadi and Saghaye-Biria organised their study into the following parts: naming choices, lexical choices and argumentative features.
themes or packages method used by Gamson and Modigliani (1989) to analyse
nuclear energy discourse in the USA. This country nuclear energy media
discourse was found to represent the means for the interaction between
power/knowledge and discourse. The authors argued that media has a strong
influence on forming nuclear energy discourse and vice versa as it is also
shaped by the discourse/ideology. De Cock (1998) found that discourse
themes/packages can be divided for comparative analysis into pro-nuclear,
neutral and anti-nuclear discourse coalitions. These coalitions consist of
narratives with different storylines. Hajer (1995) utilised a similar way of
discourse analysis to compare environmental discourses of Great Britain and the
Netherlands. Doyle (2011) analysed the UK governmental discourse on nuclear
energy and found that the priority of solving climate change problem has labelled
nuclear energy as less risky than the risk of intensifying climate change.
power, like every policy issue, has an ongoing discourse that evolves and
changes over time, providing interpretations and meanings for relevant events.
Especially such events like an accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear
Power Plant (NPP) in 2011 (WIN Gallup International, 2011). After the Fukushima
accident, strong actions against nuclear energy took place not only in nearby
countries or countries with nuclear energy plants but also all around the
world. Anti-nuclear action took place even in Belgium, where there were no
nuclear plants. Belgians demanded a global nuclear energy phase out. The
Fukushima NPP accident led to a reformulation of energy policy in Japan, Germany,
Italy, Venezuela and Israel. Switzerland and Italy also decided not to develop
a nuclear energy sector. The impact of the disaster was the most pronounced in
Germany. Although nuclear energy provided 22% of the country’s electricity in
2011, Germany decided to completely phase out its nuclear energy programme by