NUCLEAR ENERGY: Canadians Are Cautious About Revamping Nuclear Power Use


Mario Canseco, Director of Global Studies,



50% support building more nuclear stations

40% say Canada should avoid nuclear power and focus on developing other types of clean energy

At least three-in-four worry about nuclear waste management and health risks for communities living close to a reactor

Younger Canadians are least keen on further developing the nuclear industry

Full topline results are at the end of this release.

From June 3 to June 4, 2008 Angus Reid Strategies conducted an online survey among a randomly selected, representative sample of 1,006 adult Canadians. The margin of error for the total sample is + or - 3.1 %, 19 times out of 20.

The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada.

Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

Canadians Are Cautious About Revamping Nuclear Power Use

Half of respondents want to build more reactors, but the vast majority express concern over safety issues and environmental impact.

[VANCOUVER Jun. 10, 2008] Canadians appear to hold conflicting views on nuclear energy, mainly because of reservations over safety, a new Angus Reid Strategies poll reveals.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 50 per cent of respondents are in favour of building more nuclear power stations in Canadaalthough only 19 per cent express strong support. More than a third of respondents (36%) are opposed to this idea.

Canadians are not quite ready to accept a full shift towards nuclear energy. While 42 per cent of respondents think Canada should further pursue its nuclear capabilities in order to reduce toxic emissions that are the norm in the energy- producing industry, 40 per cent say the country should completely avoid nuclear energy and focus on developing other carbon-free sources of power instead.

The vast majority of respondents have reservations about the risks that nuclear energy might pose. More than 70 per cent of respondents are either very or moderately concerned about the possibility of an accident occurring at a nuclear power plant, the management of nuclear waste, and the health risks for communities living close to a reactor. A lower yet also significant number of respondents (63%) also fear that nuclear technology could eventually fall into the hands of extremists.

A regional breakdown of the results shows that support for a revamp of Canadas nuclear power industry is higher in Alberta, Ontario and Atlantic Canada, where roughly three-in-five respondents want more reactors built. Quebecers are clearly the least enthusiastic about this idea, with 62 per cent of respondents opposing the construction of new power plants.

Respondents in Quebec (60%) and British Columbia (49%) are more likely to say that Canada should stay off the path of nuclear energy and focus on finding other clean sources of power. Alberta ranks first in the proportion of people who want Canada to expand its nuclear capabilities (58%).

Concerns over the different risks related to nuclear power are very high across the country. Notably, respondents in Alberta are the least worried about both the possibility of an accident occurring at a nuclear plant (58%, compared to a national average of 70%) and the chance that the technology

would fall into the hands of extremists (52%, compared to a national average of 63%).

A look into the different demographic groups shows that Canadian men (65%) are much more likely to support the construction of new reactors than women (36%). Male respondents (56%) are also more prone to believe that Canada should increase its nuclear industry than females (29%). Men are less worried than women about all the risks posed by nuclear power.

Remarkably, respondents aged 18 to 34 are not so keen on Canada building new nuclear reactors (40% want them, compared to over half of older respondents). Younger Canadians are also more likely than others to urge the government to focus on developing alternative sources of energy (49% agree with this view, compared to less than 39% for Canadians 35 and older).

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