The Fukushima nuclear disaster has triggered a sharp increase in worry across the European Union about nuclear power safety, according to a new Harris poll commissioned by the Financial Times.
Nonetheless, the Harris poll found that – with the exception of Germany – citizens were broadly confident about the management of nuclear plants in their own country, reports the newspaper.
Harris found that nearly half of respondents in the UK and France, two countries with ambitious nuclear programmes, were now more concerned about the use of nuclear power – at 49 per cent and 48 per cent, respectively. In Germany, where popular outrage has led to the most aggressive steps to suspend plants, 55 per cent said they were more concerned.
Germans also reported great scepticism about the safety of their own plants, with 39 per cent of respondents saying they were not at all confident that they were safely managed. In France, the figure was 20 per cent, while in the UK it was just 12 per cent.
Overall, 66 per cent of Germans now oppose nuclear power, according to Harris, while just 19 per cent support it. The French are evenly split on the matter, at 36 per cent each, while the British are in favour by a margin of 35 per cent to 30 per cent.
By contrast, Harris found that Americans are the most supportive of nuclear power, with 43 per cent in favour compared with 24 per cent opposed.