Global support for nuclear energy drops after Fukushima

Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:43am EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Support for nuclear energy has plummeted following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima power plant with 62 percent of people around the globe opposed to it.

Nuclear energy now lags 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 a new Ipsos/Reuters poll released on Wednesday.

The survey of nearly 19,000 people in 24 countries also showed that nearly three-quarters of people think nuclear energy is only a limited and soon obsolete form of energy.

"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 in March, having seen news coverage or pictures, which sparked a 26 percent jump in new opponents to nuclear power.

And nearly 70 percent of people questioned said they believe all nuclear plants are vulnerable to unforeseen events.

But surprisingly 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."   Continued...

<p>Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station No.1 (L) and No.2 reactor in Fukushima prefecture, is seen in this handout photo taken on May 6, 2011 and released by TEPCO on May 17, 2011. REUTERS/Tokyo Electric Power Co/Handout</p>