Brussels, 3 July 2008
The Eurobarometer survey published today by the European Commission examines the attitudes of European citizens’ towards radioactive waste and its safe management in the context of nuclear energy, as well as their level of knowledge on this issue. This poll is a follow-up to three previous surveys conducted in 1998, 2001 and 2005.
Radioactive waste remains a major issue for the acceptance of nuclear energy. Four out of ten of those opposed to nuclear energy would change their mind if there was a safe and permanent solution for the management of radioactive waste.
Almost nine out of ten respondents consider that each EU Member State should establish a management plan for radioactive waste with a specified fixed timetable. A similar number of respondents want the European Union to monitor this situation and to ensure a level playing field between Member States.
According to the 2008 Survey, support for nuclear energy has increased in the European Union since 2005. The support is highest in countries with existing operational nuclear power plants and in those where citizens feel that they are well informed about radioactive waste issues.
Nearly two thirds of European citizens now recognise the key beneficial effects of nuclear energy, such as diversification of energy sources, decrease in the dependence on oil and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Information about how radioactive waste is managed is most trusted when it comes from independent sources such as scientists and non-governmental organisations. Moreover, Europeans have a pro-active attitude towards decision making. A majority of EU citizens would prefer to be directly consulted and to participate in the decision making process, should an underground disposal site be constructed near their home.
The complete report is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion