Skip to main content

Might Be Time for Another Poll

Over the Holidays, I missed the fact that the Guardian (U.K.) had commissioned a poll on the British public's feelings about nuclear energy:
Almost half of Britons say no new nuclear power stations should be built in the UK, according to a Guardian/ICM poll which comes as ministers consider whether to restart Britain's controversial atomic power programme to meet growing energy demand.

The poll finds that neither the pro- nor the anti-nuclear lobby can rely on a clear majority of public support: 48% of people oppose expanding nuclear energy, while 45% support it. The findings show the scale of the public relations exercise required. About 19% of the UK's electricity is generated by its 14 nuclear power stations, but this is expected to drop to 7% by 2020 as older reactors are switched off.

There's just one catch: The Poll, conducted for the paper by ICM Research, was taken between December 15 and 18, 2005 -- about two weeks before the current crisis roiling European natural gas markets.

I wonder what the results would be if the poll were conducted again right now? And as it turns out, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is seizing the opportunity:
The spokesman said Blair had highlighted the potential problems of the security of energy supply at Hampton Court last year.

Blair had urged the EU to "come up with a coherent energy policy".

The spokesman said: "These events have underlined the prime minister's thinking in making that argument.

"Security of supply was one of the reasons both behind what the prime minister said at Hampton Court about Europe, and behind setting up an energy review."

The spokesman denied that the current crisis would necessarily lead to a new programme of building nuclear reactors in the UK.

"Does an energy review knee-jerk to one particular event? No.

"But does it take into account the need for security of supply, diversity of supply, further down the line?

"That's one of the issues that needs to be considered. There is an issue of security of supply, there was already before this event, and clearly this event underlines that issue."
Technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments

Matthew66 said…
I am not surprised at the British poll results. The Greenham Common women's movement, which in the 1980's picketed the US Airforce Base at Greenham Common for several years, was very high profile in its opposition to the presence of US nuclear warheads in the UK. I believe that many of those who supported that movement would inextricably link the military and civilian nuclear programs, which were in fact linked in the UK in any event. It will take more public debate and education to overcome those long held prejudices.

Popular posts from this blog

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…