UK voters want Sunak to go nuclear after Russian gas sparked energy crisis

Budget 2023: Chancellor announces new nuclear power initiatives

A major new survey has revealed that UK voters back the introduction of nuclear power as the main source of British energy by a ratio of five to one.

The new, multinational report released today found that there is widespread public support for using advanced nuclear energy technologies to generate electricity.

Based on a survey of more than 13,000 respondents across eight countries — the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Japan, and South Korea backing for nuclear power has massively increased in the wake of the crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The war has seen sanctions imposed on Russia but also exposed western reliance on Russian gas for energy.

The survey produced through a collaboration between the nongovernmental organizations ClearPath, Third Way, Potential Energy Coalition, and RePlanet suggested that there is a clear consensus across the British population on the importance of advanced nuclear energy.

Twi thirds (67 percent) of respondents agreed with using the latest nuclear energy technologies alongside other energy sources.

In contrast, only 13 percent opposed advanced nuclear.

Approximately 66 percent of respondents believe that nuclear energy, deployed alongside renewables, is needed to achieve the country’s climate goals and ensure long-term energy security.

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The findings come after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced new support for nulear power in his recent Budget.

He told MPs that he wanted nuclear to porvide at least a quarter of UK energy by 2050 and is ploughing £20billion into new nuclear technology including mini reactors.

However, understands from industry sources that red tape in getting bids agreed could prove to be a problem in achieving his ambitions.

But following the survey industry figures have weighed in calling for nuclear to become the focus of the push for green energy in achieving net zero.

Mark Lynas, co-founder of RePlanet, said: “It is often thought that nuclear power is unpopular. Our results show conclusively that this is not the case, and that nuclear as a source of clean, carbon-free energy commands majority support in every single country.

“This majority support even extends in most cases to members of environmental groups and Green parties, and shows that policy-makers and investors should not fear public opinion when making urgently-needed decisions about supporting new advanced nuclear deployment.”

Josh Freed, Senior Vice President for the Climate and Energy Program at Third Way, said: “Real world concerns about energy security and climate change have a way of focusing people’s minds.

“That is why growing numbers of people in the US and across the world are turning to advanced nuclear as one of the sources of clean, reliable, and secure energy they support.

“It is encouraging that policymakers, including most of the countries surveyed, are responding with ambitious policies that embrace advanced nuclear as part of their energy strategies.”

John Marshall, chief executive of Potential Energy Coalition, which led the design and analytics behind the study, said: “Our approach is to use the most sophisticated tools from private sector consumer research and marketing to explore what people value, their concerns, their priorities, and how they see ‘brand nuclear’.

“We follow the data, and what this data tells here is a new story.

“We’ve known for years that public opinion on nuclear energy has been changing, but we haven’t understood what’s behind that shift or what it means for the clean energy transition. In particular, the degree of support from environmentalists is noteworthy and perhaps contrary to general perception.”

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