Photo Credit: Madam Toussaint
According to Ipsos MORI, one of the largest and best known research companies in the United Kingdom, a recent opinion poll shows 62% of citizens, across the span of 24 countries, oppose nuclear energy. Additionally, a quarter of respondents changed their minds about nuclear after the Fukushima disaster. Among the top countries showing greatest opposition are Italy, Germany, and Mexico at around 80%.
Only three countries showed support for nuclear energy- India (61%), Poland (57%), and the United States (52%). Both the UK and Sweden are dead even at 50% support/opposition. Interestingly, 67% of respondents opposed nuclear energy in France, where most of the energy produced is nuclear. With greater interest, 42% of respondents from Japan support nuclear energy.
The author of the original post poses an interesting question at the end of his article: Are governments listening to what people want? Obviously, there is no simple answer to this question. However, Italy and Germany, two of top three countries opposing nuclear, both have nuclear solutions. According to Scientific American, Italy voted to block nuclear energy for decades and Germany has decided to close all of its reactors by 2022. But, are these countries changing their policies because people oppose nuclear energy? Or do people think they should oppose nuclear energy because policies are changing? We see the age old problem of cause and effect once again.
In a sociological sense, by posing a question that is either for or against a certain issue, you assume that the individual cares about the issue and knows enough to decide whether or not they are for or against it. Within this poll, I would have liked to have seen a third option- “I don’t know.” The truth is, nuclear is a vastly complicated issue with no simple solutions. And by giving a third option, it is very likely that a shift in numbers would have occurred.
Be your own judge of the above poll by reading its methodology at guardian.co.uk. You can find it on the bottom of the page.