As Hinkley Point is prepared for Britain's first new nuclear power station construction project in a generation, a new ComRes opinion poll has found that a majority of British adults (58%) now support the use of nuclear power to provide energy in the UK including 21% who strongly support nuclear power in the UK. The opinion poll also found that only 22% were opposed.
The poll, commissioned by New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE), a new industry watchdog just launched by Tim Yeo, MP for South Suffolk, also highlighted the public's interest in the safe operation of new technology. Of those polled 82% said that this is a factor when thinking about supporting or opposing a new nuclear power station close to their home and 68% believe that it should be mandatory for non-EU companies to have a track record of safe commercial use in its country of origin before being permitted to build in Europe. In addition 76% of those polled say it's important that these projects create jobs, second only in importance to safety considerations.
In a further significant sign of its growing popularity, the polling also showed that nuclear (23%) has overtaken renewable energy sources such as solar (18%) and wind (15%) power as well as fracking (7%) and coal (3%) as the favourite single energy source British adults would like the UK and Europe to invest in. Three years ago similar polling for the British Science Festival showed 19% support for nuclear compared to 25% for solar and 20% for wind. The NNWE research also shows nuclear is seen as a potential solution to climate change issues, with 62% of respondents willing to accept nuclear power if it helps to tackle climate change.
Tim Yeo, Chairman of NNWE said: "Nuclear power is part of the solution to the challenge faced by Britain today of providing secure, affordable, safe and greener energy and, as NNWE's new poll shows, we are very fortunate that people in Britain are more positive about nuclear power, indeed more than in many other countries.
"In this context, however, it is worth noting that the public has expressed a clear preference for NNWE's first principle that when a technology has been developed outside the UK, it should have a track record of safe commercial use, either in the country of origin or elsewhere outside Britain, before it is deployed here.
"The polling also demonstrates strong support for NNWE's principle of supportiveness, namely that companies or consortia delivering nuclear projects in Europe should be good neighbours and benefit local communities, particularly through the supply chain."
Survey data for this poll can be accessed here: ComRes Nuclear Energy Survey