Nuclear energy polarises opinion

March 08, 2012, 11:23 AM GMT+0

61% want more renewable energy in UK; 45% uneasy about dangers of nuclear power

Almost a quarter (24%) of UK consumers have responded to our online survey with both positive and negative opinions towards nuclear energy, however the majority are more clear-cut in their views. There is a divide between men and women when it comes to nuclear power as a source of energy for the UK.

  • 45% of UK consumers believe that recent events in Japan have demonstrated the potential dangers in nuclear power, while 44% believe nuclear technology can be safe if properly handled.
  • Women have far more doubts about nuclear power than men with 54% saying that they are uneasy about the potential dangers, compared to only 28% of men.
  • Men are much more likely to have positive opinions on nuclear energy, with 53% saying the government needs to develop the UK’s nuclear power generation capacity compared to only 19% of women.

Renewable energy is seen as desirable

61% of UK consumers believe the government needs to invest more in renewable energy. But there is an understanding or presumption that renewable energy is more expensive. 38% of consumers believe only the richest nations are likely to invest in renewable energy, and only 12% would be prepared to pay more for energy from a renewable source.

Men are most likely to feel that the government should invest and/or that the development is an urgent necessity (65% and 55%, respectively), while women seem to have a slightly different viewpoint, with 54% claiming to have ‘individual responsibility’.

Commenting on the findings, James McCoy, YouGov SixthSense Research Director, said: “Attitudes towards renewable energy in the UK are generally positive. However, work still needs to be done to convert these positive views into household tariffs, as most consumers are unwilling to pay extra for renewables.”

Total sample size was 2,224 nationally representative UK adults aged 16+. Fieldwork was undertaken 3rd – 7th November 2011. Additional research was carried out between 2nd – 6th February 2012, amongst 2,023 adults aged 18+.

SixthSense, part of YouGov plc, is a provider of comprehensive business intelligence.

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