A fresh poll of the British public shows that 40 percent of 1,734 people surveyed think the UK should increase its use of nuclear power.
That’s up from 35 percent that last time YouGov/Sunday Times posed the same question nearly a year ago. You can see the results here (scroll down to page 9).
The problem for Prime Minister David Cameron’s pro-nuclear government, of course, is in converting the enthusiasm of that 40 percent – that’s 693 people – into funds. YouGov/Sunday Times asked for opinions, not money. Cameron is struggling to find financial backers for proposed new plants. Nuclear contributes about 16 percent of Britain’s electricity.
The poll found even greater support for solar and wind, as 72 percent favoured more solar and 55 percent want more wind. Both categories declined by a point or two from last year. Coal-fired power stations increased by a point but were low on the public’s wish list, with only 17 percent wanting more, up from 16 percent a year ago. Coal is the UK’s biggest source of electricity, contributing nearly half.
Another 17 percent want more gas power stations (gas did not appear on last year’s poll), and 11 percent want more oil power stations, up from 10 percent.
To summarize: The number of people who want more nuclear outweighed the number that want more fossil fuels by a long shot. Although it trailed the number calling for more wind and solar, it gained on both of those “renewables” as a preferred source of CO2-free energy.
A quick note on gender: More than twice as many men as women said yes to more nuclear – 54 percent versus 26 percent. Read into that what you will.
Just think what the overall support could be as the public starts to learn more about safe nuclear alternatives like thorium fuel and reactor designs such as molten salt, pebble bed and others that could replace conventional reactors.
That in turn could set some pockets jingling.