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Nuclear Safety and Security in France in the 1970s: A Turning Point for the Media

Authors: Jandot Aurélia


In France, in the main media, the concern about nuclear safety and security has not really appeared before the beginning of the 1970s. The gradual changes in its perception are studied here through the arguments given in the main French news magazines, linked with several parameters. As this represents a considerable amount of copies and thus of information, are selected here the main articles as well as the main “mental images” aiming to persuade the readers and which have led the public awareness to evolve. Indeed, in the 1970s, in France, these evolutions were not made in one day. Indeed, over the period, many articles were still in favor of nuclear power plants and promoted the technological advances that were made in this field. They had to be taken into account. But, gradually, grew up arguments and mental images discrediting the perception of nuclear technology. Among these were the environmental impacts of this industry, as the question of pollution progressively appeared. So, between 1970 and 1979, the language has changed, as the perceptible objectives of the communication, allowing to discern the deepest intentions of the editorial staffs of the French news magazines. This is all these changes that are emphasized here, over a period when the safety and security concern linked to the nuclear technology, to there a field for specialists, has become progressively a social issue seemingly open to all.

Keywords: Nuclear Safety and Security, Persuasion, public awareness, French media discourse

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