Less than half (45%) of those surveyed support the use of nuclear energy, according to a global online poll of 18,000 conducted by Ipsos.
The results represent an improvement on the last poll, conducted in April 2011, one month after the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan. Then, just 38% were in favour of nuclear power, with almost two thirds (62%) opposed.
There are vast differences in views on nuclear power across the globe, with three-quarters of respondents supporting nuclear energy in India, compared with only around quarter in both Germany and Mexico.
Unfortunately, the balance of opinion remains negative in 16 out of the 24 countries surveyed (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Turkey). The lowest levels of support were recorded in Mexico (26%), Germany (26%), Italy (29%) and Argentina (29%).
Two-thirds (66%) of those polled in the United States supported the use of nuclear energy, making it the second most supportive country after India (75%). A majority also supported nuclear energy in China (59%), Great Britain (59%), Saudi Arabia (59%), Poland (53%) and Sweden (52%). In France, the population is split with 50% each supporting and opposing nuclear energy.
Most countries (21 out of 24 polled) have seen support improve since the April 2011 poll taken just after the Fukushima accident. The USA leads these with a net change in support of +36. Three countries have experienced declining support for nuclear power post Fukushima: Spain (-6), Poland (-8) and Japan (-10).
Robert Knight, Research Director at Ipsos MORI in London said: “There’s no doubt global public opinion has recovered somewhat since Fukushima. But while the global picture is still not that encouraging for the nuclear industry, there are several countries where optimism about the future of nuclear energy is once again justified.”