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Monday, October 3, 2022

Majority of French support nuclear energy

By: V4 Agency

A survey found that three quarters of the population believe that France should move towards nuclear energy due to the recent energy crisis. Even the majority of left-wing voters and the supporters of the Green Party share this opinion. An increasing number of people support the construction of new reactors, saying that nuclear power is a reliable energy source.

The recent energy crisis has thoroughly reshaped French public opinion and the people’s attitude towards nuclear energy, according to the survey conducted by the French pollster Ifop Opinion for the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD).

75 percent of the French clearly support nuclear energy, the results show. French people do not want to go down the path of Germany, which has shut down all but three of its nuclear power plants. Although people’s opinions are somewhat different by age group, this difference is shrinking, said Frederic Dabi, director general of Ifop Opinion. The vast majority of people over the age of 65, 84 per cent, support nuclear energy, while this proportion among people under 35 is 69 per cent, the survey reveals. As for political affiliation, two-thirds (66 per cent) of the respondents who are left-wing sympathisers believe that nuclear energy should be given more emphasis. This proportion is even higher, 88 per cent, among right-wing voters.

JDD emphasizes that the recent energy crisis has probably greatly attributed this change in public opinion. Ifop’s survey also reveals that the respondents consider especially important the price of electricity and their purchasing power. 81 per cent of the respondents consider nuclear power inevitable for France’s independence, and 67 per cent believes that it generates electricity at a favourable price.

Opinions on these two issues are consistent regardless of age or political affiliation, with 79 per cent of voters for the left-wing La France Insoumise (Unbowed France) and 72 per cent of those for the environmentalist Green Party. As for voters backing the governing party, support for nuclear power is strikingly high at 97 per cent, with 100 per cent of right-wing voters unanimously saying that nuclear power will allow the country to be energy independent. In terms of price, Leftist support is lower, but still impressive, with 69 per cent of them saying nuclear energy is cheap, compared to 53 per cent of Green Party supporters. 76 per cent of the ruling party’s voters and 89 per cent of those who sympathise with the right said they find nuclear energy prices favourable.

The survey also shows that the French consider nuclear energy to be reliable, with 71 per cent saying so, while 62 per cent say it is dangerous. The head of Ifop summarised the results of the survey by saying that, overall, the French accept the risk of nuclear energy, which they consider cheap and beneficial for the country’s energy independence.

Respondents were also asked about Emmanuel Macron’s announcement that he would build six EPR-type nuclear power plants by 2030, and it emerged that

65 per cent of French people support the construction of new reactors.

By party affiliation, the proportion is much lower than average for the Left, at only 45 per cent, and only 41 per cent for the Greens. In contrast, the ruling party and The Republicans voters are overwhelmingly in favour of building new reactors, with 85 per cent agreeing. Overall, support for nuclear power has increased in the country, with just over half of the French population, 51 per cent, supporting the construction of new nuclear reactors last year, according to Ifop’s previous survey in October 2021.

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