Distance matters. Assessing socioeconomic impacts of the Dukovany nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic: Local perceptions and statistical evidence

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The effect of geographical distance on the extent of socioeconomic impacts of the Dukovany nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic is assessed by combining two different research approaches. First, we survey how people living in municipalities in the vicinity of the power plant perceive impacts on their personal quality of life. Second, we explore the effects of the power plant on regional development by analysing long-term statistical data about the unemployment rate, the share of workers in the energy sector and overall job opportunities in the respective municipalities. The results indicate that the power plant has had significant positive impacts on surrounding communities both as perceived by residents and as evidenced by the statistical data. The level of impacts is, however, significantly influenced by the spatial and social distances of communities and individuals from the power plant. The perception of positive impacts correlates with geographical proximity to the power plant, while the hypothetical distance where positive effects on the quality of life are no longer perceived was estimated at about 15 km. Positive effects are also more likely to be reported by highly educated, young and middle-aged and economically active persons, whose work is connected to the power plant.

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