New poll: UK public are unfamiliar with the nuclear industry

3 December 2009

Two-thirds of the British public agrees that nuclear energy needs to be part of the energy mix, but just 17% are familiar with the nuclear industry, according to a recent poll. The Nuclear Industry Association, a trade body representing over 185 companies in the UK’s civil nuclear industry has called for education and information services to be ‘stepped-up’ in response to the survey.

The poll carried out by Ipsos MORI in November on behalf of the NIA shows that support for new build in the UK remains high at 43%, with opposition at 19% - the lowest figure for a decade.

It reveals that 67% of the public agrees that Britain needs a mix of energy sources to ensure a reliable supply of electricity, including nuclear power and renewable energy sources; a 2% increase compared with 2008. However it also shows that familiarity with the nuclear energy industry has fallen some ten percentage points in two years – to 17%.

NIA chief executive Keith Parker said: “These results show that, to some extent, the public is recognising the crucial role which nuclear plays in keeping our lights on and our emissions down. But it also tells us that as an industry we need to step-up our education and information services to reach a wider audience.

“The nuclear industry must never overlook its obligation to keep the public fully informed of our activities and ambitions. They are our most crucial audience.”

The NIA also undertook new research into the reasons behind different views on nuclear between men and women, producing a new report, “Women and Nuclear Energy” which will be debated at the NIA’s annual Energy Choices conference in London today.

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