Growth in support for UK new build

Support for the construction of new nuclear power plants in the UK has grown by more than 10% over the past decade, with 45% of people now approving the building of new reactors, according to the latest Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) poll.

More than two-thirds (68%) of those who support the construction of new reactors to replace existing ones do so because of concerns about the UK’s energy self-sufficiency. Some 66% said they believe new reactors could reduce reliance on coal and gas.

The reliability of electricity supply from nuclear power plants was named as the main reason for supporting the construction of new reactors by 64% of respondents, an increase of seven percentage points over the past two years. Job creation and investment was cited as the second reason.

However, the poll highlighted a lack of knowledge on how the nuclear industry deals with its waste, with 82% of respondents who oppose the construction of new reactors citing this as their main reason. Only 21% of those questioned said they were aware of future plans for waste disposal.

Concerns about public safety was cited by 39% of those questioned as the main disadvantage of nuclear energy, down from 46% in 2012.

NIA chief executive Keith Parker said, “The UK is on the cusp of a major program of nuclear new build and the industry has to make sure that people trust and understand the sector.”

He said, “We often talk about the positive impact building new nuclear capacity will have on jobs and businesses. But, if we don’t build new nuclear power there will be a much bigger issue. The country will lose almost a fifth of its generating capacity, carbon dioxide emissions will rise, and the country would become more dependent on imported energy – something which concerns a large number of people.”

Referring to the results of the latest poll, Parker said it is “clear that industry and government need to engage openly and build greater understanding about what radioactive waste is. The British industry is successfully decommissioning old nuclear plants and that expertise is being used across the world. We should be proud of that.”

The online YouGov poll questioned 2015 UK adults between 10 and 17 November, the NIA said.

Source: World Nuclear News

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