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Poll reveals half British public support nuclear future

The British public sees the need to tackle climate change: but only reluctantly accepts nuclear power as a part of the solution, overwhelmingly preferring renewables and energy efficiency.

As the Government next week begins its major review on the future of energy, an extensive survey published today (17th January) of the British public's attitudes towards future energy options shows that just over 50% may be prepared to accept new nuclear power stations if it would help to tackle climate change. But few actively prefer the nuclear option over alternatives such as renewable sources and greater energy efficiency. Most people believe that promoting renewable energy sources (78%), and reducing energy use through lifestyle changes and energy efficiency (76%) are better ways of tackling climate change than nuclear power.

Part of the government's impending energy review will consider whether the UK needs to replace its ageing nuclear power stations as one contribution towards achieving its climate change objectives. Professor Nick Pidgeon, who led the survey research team, explained that "the government has already recognised the need to take public acceptability into account when exploring our future energy options. However, almost nothing is known about how ordinary people are responding to the new debate about nuclear power and climate change. This new research helps us to understand public views on this critical question".

Carried out jointly by researchers from the Centre for Environmental Risk and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, in conjunction with Ipsos MORI. The survey reveals:

  • There are high levels of concern about climate change among the British public.
  • While polls over the past four years have shown a gradual lessening of opposition to replacing nuclear power stations, the new results still show more opposition than support.
  • Higher proportions of people are pre
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Contact: Nicky Barrell
n.barrell@uea.ac.uk
44-160-359-3007
University of East Anglia
17-Jan-2006


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