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Nuclear Energy Update Poll

December 2011

Published:17 January 2012
Fieldwork:2 - 8 December 2011
Keywords:Energy, Environment, Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Power
(Click on keywords to find related Research)

Public Support for Nuclear Energy makes early recovery after Fukushima

The latest face-to-face survey of the British public by Ipsos MORI shows that public support for nuclear energy has bounced back strongly since its June 2011 low point in the wake of the Fukushima incident in Japan in March. The tsunami and earthquake damage to the Japanese nuclear plant caused a wave of anti-nuclear feeling across the world last year, cutting support in Britain by 11 percentage points and boosting opposition by nine points. But this now looks like no more than a temporary blip, as year-on-year improvement in support has resumed.

Support for new nuclear plants to replace those being shut down has recovered from its June low of 36% and risen to a new peak of 50%, three points above the November 2010 level. At the same time, opposition has fallen from 28% in June to 20%. Overall net support for newbuild is now above that of November 2010.

Similarly, overall favourability towards the nuclear energy industry has recovered to 40%, the same level as last November, and unfavourable opinion has slipped back to 19% from June’s 24%, though is still a little above that of November 2010 (17%).

Director at Ipsos MORI Reputation Centre, Robert Knight, said:

“After the body blow suffered by British public opinion following the Fukushima incident in Japan last year, support for nuclear newbuild has recovered robustly in just a few months. It seems the public see Japan as a long way away and memories are short, but concerns about the future security of energy supply closer to home are ongoing and persistent.”

Technical note

Ipsos MORI conducted face-to-face interviews using CAPI with 993 adults aged 16+ in 144 systematically-selected sampling points across Great Britain. The data were weighted to be representative of the population of Great Britain aged 16+. This was a cut-down version of an annual survey previously run for the Nuclear Industry Association, using the same methodology as previously. It was conducted at Ipsos MORI’s own expense.

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Robert Knight
Robert Knight

Research Director