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The objective of this study is to use the hard methods of systems analysis to study legislative activity, news coverage, reactor accidents and nuclear energy penetration. It employs a model developed in the 1920s to analyse press coverage and reactor accidents. According to this model, the behaviour of society is the consequence of cultural diffusion waves. Ideas are generated and, if successfully selected, diffuse into the system and induce corresponding behavioural patterns. The model is quantitative, predictive and mathematically very parsimonious. The basic constraint is that the diffusion process has a maximum potential - the niche. Competition brings a succession of occupants into the niche, whose dynamics are described by the model. Press coverage in the United States is studied extensively for two reasons. First of all, because there is a capillary monitoring of the US media, reliable data on time series are available. Secondly, due to the large number of reactors and unsophisticated operator crews, the USA has a long list of reactor accidents from which significant signals can be extracted. The USA also has two very distinct waves of reactor construction, which makes the system more articulate and transparent.

Additional information

Authors: MARCHETTI C, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg (AT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 12675 EN (1990) 109 pp., FS, ECU 10
Availability: (2)
ISBN: ISBN 92-826-1292-9
Record Number: 199010827 / Last updated on: 1994-12-01
Original language: en
Available languages: en