Opposition to nuclear energy on the wane

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The Independent Online

The public is deeply divided on nuclear power but for the first time there are signs that a majority would accept it for the sake of tackling climate change.

A survey has found that 54 per cent of people would be willing to support the building of new nuclear power stations if it would help solve global warming.

The study found a weakening of opposition towards nuclear power which five years ago saw about 60 per cent of people totally against it as a source of energy. The latest survey found that, even without taking climate change into account, only 40 per cent of people now say they are totally opposed, said Professor Nick Pidgeon of the University of East Anglia.

"There's been a softening of opposition to nuclear power," said Professor Pidgeon. "[The public is] prepared to suspend their concern because they see a bigger risk from climate change."

The Government will begin its major review of future energy sources next week and is expected later this year to decide whether to build a new generation of nuclear power stations to replace those due for decommissioning over the next decade.

Nearly 1,500 people were interviewed in the Mori poll.