New Nuclear Watch Europe raises concerns about public support for nuclear power

LONDON, 26 APRIL: New polling by YouGov for New Nuclear Watch Europe shows support for Hinkley Point C falling but there is no clear Plan B.

Figures released today by New Nuclear Watch Europe show:

  • There has been a 74% decrease in net public support for plans to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C.
  • If Hinkley Point C were delayed or cancelled the public is split on what the back up plan should be with 29% favouring new nuclear power stations and 28% favouring new renewable power stations.
  • However, almost a third of the British public (32%) don’t know what a back up plan for delay or cancellation of Hinkley Point C should look like at all.
  • Worryingly for the future of Hinkley Point C, half of Brits (50%) believe that French companies should not be allowed to build and operate a nuclear power station on our shores and 67% are against a Chinese role in UK nuclear power stations.

British scepticism about foreign developers may hinder the search for alternatives to Hinkley Point C, despite the need for international finance and expertise.

  • 46% of UK adults believe that foreign investment in the building of a nuclear power station in the UK is a negative thing, compared with just 12% thinking it positive.
  • Aside from France and China, 57% believe that Japanese companies, involved in two other key new nuclear build projects in the pipeline, Moorside in Cumbria and Wylfa in North Wales, should not be allowed to build and operate nuclear power plants in Britain.

New Nuclear Watch Europe Chair, Tim Yeo said:

“There has been a worrying drop in support from the British public, which will compound the financial and technical challenges already faced by the Hinkley Point C project. NNWE is concerned that ongoing delays at Hinkley are damaging the wider development prospects for nuclear power in the UK. NNWE has been calling for some time for a rigorous analysis from DECC of our alternatives when it comes to new nuclear build.”

“The reality of modern new nuclear projects is that international consortia are needed to bring together the right combination of technical expertise and financial backing. These polling numbers don’t look good for a government in search of a plan B. Ministers need to tackle public concerns about foreign investment in UK infrastructure head on or face a backlash against the next generation of nuclear power stations.”

“We desperately need new nuclear to meet our carbon reduction targets and to secure British supply chain jobs in the nuclear industry. The political challenge will be in keeping minds open to keep the lights on.”

 

NOTES:

Contact: Vanessa Pine, 07779 151 720, contact@newnuclerwatch.eu

  • All figures, unless otherwise stated are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,049 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th -11th April 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
  • NNWE was founded at the end of 2014 to help ensure nuclear power is recognised as an important and desirable way for European governments to provide affordable, secure, low carbon energy and help to meet the long-term energy needs of their citizens.
  • NNWE wants to ensure that contracts for new nuclear power stations are awarded in a way which delivers the greatest benefit in the fairest manner, to local communities, as well as to consumers and national governments.
  • Membership of NNWE is open to all companies, individuals and organisations active in the nuclear industry including those involved in the supply chain. More information is available at www.newnuclearwatch.eu
  • Tim Yeo is Chair of New Nuclear Watch Europe and the University of Sheffield Industrial Advisory Board for the Energy 2050 initiative. He is a former Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and was Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee from 2005-2010 and then Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee from 2010-2015.
  • This release is issued under embargo for 00.01 26 April 2016