A new report published on 11 May has found that there is widespread public support for using advanced nuclear energy technologies for the generation of electricity. Based on a survey of more than 13 000 respondents across eight countries – Poland, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Japan, and South Korea – the study showed strong support in each country, with Poland having the highest level of support, showing a 10:1 ratio of supporters to opponents.
The report was produced through a collaboration of the nongovernmental organisations ClearPath, Third Way, Potential Energy Coalition, and RePlanet.
Mark Lynas, co-founder of RePlanet, said:
Support for advanced nuclear energy is not partisan, the report found. In all but two countries in the report, Germany and Japan, a majority of the supporters of every major political party also back using advanced nuclear energy.
The study found that 52 % of self-described supporters or members of environmental groups in Poland strongly agree with using advanced nuclear energy, with only 4% strongly disagreeing. In Germany, which recently closed its last nuclear power plants, more than half of respondents said they support the use of advanced nuclear energy, and supporters outnumbered opponents by a factor of two to one. German supporters cited energy independence as the strongest argument in favour of using nuclear technology.
"It is often thought that nuclear power is unpopular. Our results show conclusively that this is not the case, and that nuclear as a source of clean, carbon-free energy commands majority support in every single country. This majority support even extends in most cases to members of environmental groups and Green parties, and shows that policy-makers and investors should not fear public opinion when making urgently-needed decisions about supporting new advanced nuclear deployment" said Josh Freed, senior VP for the Climate and Energy Programme at Third Way.
Other recent surveys have also confirmed a shift in public support in favour of nuclear energy – including a Gallup poll in April that found Americans' support was at the highest level in a decade. One new finding revealed by the study was that almost all of the opposition to advanced nuclear energy comes from a small, distinct segment of the population – only 15 % – whose members are older, sceptical about innovation, and unmovable in their views. All of the other groups identified by the report overwhelmingly support advanced nuclear energy, even if they vary widely in their political outlook, economic position, and views on issues like climate change.