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Friday, July 4, 2008

Europeans' reservations about nuclear energy on the decline: survey

Reservations about the use of nuclear energy are on the decline in Europe, although there is still no majority in favour, according to an EU survey published on Thursday.

Some 44 percent of Europeans are either "totally in favour" or "fairly in favour" of nuclear energy, according to the survey, carried out in February and March.

The last time the survey was carried out in 2005 the figure was 37 percent.

The countries that warmed the most towards nuclear energy were Italy and which saw the figure rise to 43 percent from 30 percent, followed by Poland, Ireland and Greece.

In France, long one of the biggest users of nuclear power, public opinion was little changed at 52 percent taking a favourable view.

President Nicolas Sarkozy announced Thursday that France would build a second third-generation European Pressurised Water Reactor power plant, arguing nuclear power was the country's best answer to soaring energy prices.

Despite the rising number of people in favour of nuclear energy, 45 percent remain totally opposed, with women and people with low levels of education the most against.

Only 10 out of the European Union's 27 countries showed a majority in favour of nuclear energy.

Opposition to nuclear energy was strongest in Austria, Greece and Cyprus.

The study attributed the growing popularity of nuclear energy to rising public attention to the fight against climate change.

The survey was based on the answers of 26,746 people in the EU's 27 countries.

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