Polls reveal public opinion in nuclear versus renewables debate

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Two recent opinion polls reveal current thinking on the nuclear/renewables debate in France. Both were taken in the context of a public debate over the new European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) to be built in Flamanville, northern France, in 2012. The first poll, commissioned by the government, reveals that 45% of the population is in favour of nuclear powered electricity production and 42% opposed. The main advantages cited are security of supply, cheaper and more stable electricity prices and no greenhouse gas emissions. But concern is growing over nuclear waste, with 79% of opponents and 72% of supporters worried about the impact on future generations. The second poll was conducted in the Flamanville area on behalf of the anti-nuclear groups Agir pour l'Environnement and Greenpeace. It reveals that 84% of respondents are in favour of renewables and less than 31% wish to see more nuclear power. Some 80% consider nuclear a risky technology, while 54% find it unacceptable to invest EUR 3 billion in constructing a new nuclear power station. The majority (80%) felt the issue should be put to a referendum. Agir pour l'Environnement and Greenpeace are calling on the government to suspend the EPR project.

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