Nuclear power's support slipped in survey results

Support for nuclear energy fell following the March 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima power plant. Ipsos/Reuters released a survey taken in April that showed 62 percent of people around the globe are opposed to it.

Support for nuclear power was strongest in India, Poland and the United States where the majority of people supported it. The American public’s support for nuclear energy dropped in the immediate aftermath of Japan’s nuclear crisis, according to several polls reported in USA Today.

Nuclear energy lagged behind solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, natural gas and coal as a preferred energy source with critics strongest in Germany, Italy and Mexico, according to the poll, which was released June 22.

The survey, which was conducted in April, included nearly 19,000 people in 24 countries. 

"Clearly, the Fukushima disaster had a massive impact on world citizens," said Henri Wallard, deputy chief executive officer at Ipsos. "Virtually everyone had heard about this and it had a big impact in terms of diminishing the support for nuclear energy."

Ninety five percent of people around the globe were aware of the accident at the Fukushima plant. And nearly 70 percent of people questioned said they believe all nuclear plants are vulnerable to unforeseen events.

The survey found that in Japan 45 percent of people still view nuclear power as a viable energy option and 71 percent support its modernization.

"The Japanese people still show some realism," said Wallard. "They believe they will continue to use nuclear energy in the energy mix for some time."

Thirty eight percent of people overall said they agree with modernizing electricity production via nuclear power.

The poll was conducted in April in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

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