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Europeans don't much like nuclear energy

Solar and wind popular options, survey shows

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Europeans are not much impressed with nuclear energy and want the powers that be to focus on wind and solar alternatives, according to Reuters.

This conclusion has been drawn from a European Commission Eurobarometer poll of 30,000 EU citizens in which just 12 per cent voted yes to developing nuclear energy. Forty-eight per cent warmed to solar, while 31 per cent got behind wind.

The issue is divisive at government level, too. Some EU nations, Germany and Sweden among the most notable, intend to bin nuclear energy altogether, while others, including France and the UK, look set to expand their programmes.

The poll, however, showed that 47 per cent of citizens favoured a Europe-level decision-making process coupled with a common energy policy. EU heads of state will get together in March to debate the basis for such a policy, which could encompass issues including "boosting renewable sources to harnessing the bloc's combined negotiating power for talks with foreign suppliers".

In the UK, trade secretary Alan Johnson this week said it was time for Britain to "close or open the door" to nuclear power. This statement came during the launch of a three-month consultation into the country's energy needs for the next 50 to 60 years.

Noting that coal and nuclear-powered electricity plants, which produce 30 per cent of the UK's electricity, will have closed by 2020, Johnson said: "Companies will need to decide how this capacity should be replaced. These are big investment decisions so the Government needs to provide a clear framework." ®

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