Just a quarter of young people know nuclear is low carbon source
9 Mar 2020
Barely one in four people aged 18-24 surveyed realise nuclear power is a low carbon source of electricity, compared with more than three quarters for renewables such as wind and solar.
The statistics are revealed in a new poll by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) survey Public Perceptions: Nuclear Power, into public attitudes towards nuclear power.
The poll found the level of understanding rising from 47% among 35 to 44-year olds, rising to 61% among 65 to 74-year olds, although it remains well below levels seen for renewables.
As the public grows more concerned about climate change, and the Government strives to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, greater awareness is needed of the low carbon potential of the different sources of electricity, warned IMechE chief executive Dr Colin Brown.
“The importance of rapidly decarbonising the UK’s power system has increased as concern about climate change intensifies. This poll shows the potential of low carbon electricity sources has not been effectively communicated, with nuclear much less understood than renewables,” said Brown.
The poll found that women are only half as likely as men to favour nuclear power, while the highest level of support in Scotland, where nearly half of respondents were in favour despite the Scottish National Party’s opposition to new nuclear power plants.
IMechE recommends Government includes nuclear power in all its communications about low carbon power and energy sources. It adds that the nuclear industry should create stronger messaging about the potential possibilities for nuclear to create a low carbon, prosperous future with solutions from low carbon fuel production to increased.
But it adds that Government and industry need to communicate a credible plan for waste disposal, either a geological disposal facility or recycling of spent radioactive material.