The following news article originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.
An online poll across 24 countries shows nuclear energy has more than 50 percent support in the United States, China, India and Great Britain, but less than majority support in other countries, including Japan, Germany and Italy.
The survey, taken by British polling firm Ipsos MORI, also demonstrated a marked uptick in support in most countries compared to a previous Ipsos poll on the subject taken in April 2011, a month after the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi facility.
In the United States, Ipsos found that 66 percent support nuclear energy as one of the ways to produce electricity. A September survey for NEI conducted by Bisconti Research with GfK Roper showed a similar 65 percent in favor of nuclear energy.
The survey found that globally, support for nuclear energy is lagging that for every other energy source. With solar energy garnering a global average of 96 percent support, wind 93 percent and hydroelectric 91 percent, nuclear energy received 45 percent support, less than natural gas at 79 percent and coal at 48 percent.
Against that backdrop, the numbers for nuclear energy have become more positive by several measures, with several countries that posted less than 50 percent support in the previous poll moving to majority support in the subsequent 18 months.
In Great Britain, for example, support grew from 49 to 59 percent. Other countries that saw similar increases in support include those with mature nuclear industries, such as France and Sweden, but also countries that have no nuclear energy, such as Italy.
Overall support for nuclear energy was strikingly evident in developing nations with strong nuclear energy programs, including India at 75 percent and China at 59 percent.
Ipsos observed generally that 21 of the 24 countries surveyed increased their support for nuclear energy, though not all show majority support for nuclear energy. However, a few countries saw support declining—Japan’s support for nuclear energy dropped five points in the current survey, from 41 percent in 2011 to 36 percent this year. Support in Spain also declined.
The countries with the lowest levels of overall support included Mexico (26 percent), Germany (26 percent), which has plans to end its nuclear energy program by 2022, and Argentina (29 percent), which is slated to bring a third reactor online in 2013.
In a press release, Robert Knight, research director at Ipsos, 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.”
Ipsos ran the poll using online interviews Sept. 4-18 and included 18,680 adult responders.