Poll: New nuclear power 'best for Britain'

27 January 2012

The results of a nationwide poll show that Britons believe new nuclear power plants would be the best infrastructure investment the country could make.

The result saw 19% of 1711 people polled by YouGov on 19 and 20 January choose nuclear investment as "best for Britain" from a list of projects either in progress or under discussion.

The second most chosen by the respondents was offshore wind, selected by 16% of people, while the development of superfast broadband internet access in rural areas was third with 13%.

Those three options were clear leaders from the list of nine, which also included a range of airport and rail plans. The only other selection related to energy was the Severn Barrage proposal, chosen by 7% of people.

Taking sides

In common with most polls it was shown that nuclear energy is supported more by men than by women, and more by older people than younger people.

Some 29% of Conservative Party supporters chose nuclear, as well as 29% of men. In the over-60 age group, nuclear was picked by 26% of people. These levels of support exceeded those for any of the other options under any of the societal groupings.

By contrast, offshore wind was picked by 24% of Labour Party supporters, 21% of women and 23% of people aged 18-24.

Bouncing back?

The YouGov survey comes just ten days after polling from Ipsos-Mori that indicated that British opinions on nuclear may have already recovered from a drop after the Fukushima accident. Ipsos-Mori found a record 50% of people now support the idea of building nuclear power plants to replace old ones shutting down. The result for the same question was 36% in June 2011, three months after the Fukushima accident, against a previous peak of 47% in November 2010.

These general groupings mark a clear divide in the UK energy debate, underlining that many people have made up their minds. Social grade or geographic location had no significant impact on levels of support for the two leading energy sources. Even the peak of 23% support for offshore wind in Scotland was offset by 24% support for nuclear in the north of England.

British energy policy supports the development of both offshore wind and nuclear power under policies begun during the successive Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and continued by the Conservative-Liberal coalition currently governing under prime minister David Cameron.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News