French public opinion growing against nuclear power

A nuclear power station in Cruas, Ardèche. French people are becoming less in favour of nuclear power

The French public is becoming less and less in favour of nuclear power, as awareness and concern for the environment grows, according to a new study.

Over half (53%) of French people said they were now opposed to nuclear power, in the survey by pollster Odoxa. This is compared to 67% who said they were in favour, in a another poll five years’ ago.

The change in opinion has been attributed to the growth and improvement in renewable energy sources, and the rising awareness of the public towards the environment.

The safety of nuclear reactors has also been in question recently, after a spike in breakdowns, and more and more people living within 80 km of a central reactor.

Environmental campaigner Greenpeace, said: “We have gone from a world in which French society believed that nuclear was the only choice. The public thought it was bad, but a necessary evil. But now, with the rise in renewable energy, with sun and wind, we can bypass nuclear completely.”

Concern over the environmental impact of nuclear power has also played a role, it suggested.

The statement continued: “We are waking up to the fact that when we turn on a light or a toaster at home, we are producing radioactive waste that is going to remain on Earth for thousands of years. We are starting to ask ourselves if this is a clean source of energy.”

Despite this, however, the same poll found that just 28% of people would be willing to pay more for their energy to fix the nuclear problem.

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