Nuclear Politics

Europe / Energy Crisis Sees Major Shift In Support For Nuclear, Research Suggests

By David Dalton
16 January 2023

Numbers supporting and opposing reactors have reversed
Energy Crisis Sees Major Shift In Support For Nuclear, Research Suggests
The Dukovany nuclear power station in the Czech Republic. Courtesy CEZ.
The energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has seen the proportion of European citizens objecting to nuclear energy fall from 26% in 2021 to 15% in 2022, according to the results of research by Hungary-based consultancy Századvég.

In six years, the proportion of those supporting and opposing nuclear energy have reversed. In 2016, 41% rejected the technology and 15% supported it. The proportion of those in favour of nuclear power has now increased to 40% and that of those against nuclear power has decreased to 15%.

The company said the difference between the results of a European Social Survey poll in 2016 and its own 2021 research, which preceded the energy crisis, already suggested that public support for anti-nuclear policy was steadily declining.

“Based on the results of the 2022 autumn survey of Századvég, it can be stated that the energy crisis has accelerated the trend: in a single year, the rejection of nuclear energy among European citizens decreased by as much as in the previous five years,” Századvég said.

The Századvég survey shows a growing positive perception of nuclear energy in all EU member states. The percentage of those in favour of nuclear power – who say the technology should produce “very much” or “much” energy – has increased from 26% to 40% during the last year.

The Czech Republic (32%), Bulgaria (30%) and France (27%) lead the ranking of respondents who chose the “very much” option when it came to supporting nuclear, while the highest number of supportive answers (both “very much” and “much”) was reported in Hungary (68%).

Even in some traditionally anti-nuclear nations, the degree of rejection has decreased significantly over the last 12 months. In Austria it has fallen from 57% to 47%, in Cyprus from 41% to 37%, in Greece from 45% to 30% and in Portugal from 46% to 29%.

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