From the 1970s onwards, protests against the construction of nuclear facilities in Germany increased significantly. The German government responded to these protests for the first time with the "Citizens' Dialogue on Nuclear Energy". It was implemented by the Federal Ministry of Research between 1975 and 1983.

Essentially, this was a campaign including discussion formats. Information was provided on the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy and the aim was to facilitate an exchange of different positions. The underlying idea was that the growing resistance among the population was due to a lack of information. The expansion of nuclear facilities was to be facilitated through education and information. To work on the research project, the contractors collected and analysed scientific literature and extensive material from archives. They also conducted interviews with contemporary witnesses.

The process, activities and key protagonists were researched as part of the research project. The reasons for the implementation of the citizens' dialogue and the objectives pursued by the state were analysed. The perception of the citizens' dialogue by civil society, the media and science was analysed and processed. As a federal and state information centre in the Gorleben area sought dialogue on waste management issues, its activities were examined in detail. Developments in Frankenberg in northern Hesse, where a nuclear waste disposal facility was also to be built, were also reconstructed.

The "Citizens' Dialogue on Nuclear Energy" has not yet been the subject of in-depth systematic research. This final report closes a research gap. It has been shown that the state wanted to engage in dialogue with citizens as early as the 1970s. This explicitly included the critics of nuclear energy. Their arguments were also given a platform with the citizens' dialogue. Associations, initiatives and educational organisations have been involved for years. Overall, extensive resources were utilised.

The controversy surrounding the use of nuclear energy continues to have an impact in Germany to this day. The experiences from the disputes surrounding Gorleben have helped shape the design of the Site Selection Act.

Dr Jan-Henrik Meyer; Oertel , Britta; Kahlisch, CarolinJennifer Maier; Charlotte Oertel
Fields of research

Communication and publicity