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Support for nuclear energy in Poland almost doubles in a year

There has been a large rise in support for developing nuclear energy in Poland, with 75% of the public now in favour, up from 39% last year. Only 13% are opposed, down from 45% in 2021.

The findings come amid the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine and also as the Polish government moves forward with plans to develop the country’s first nuclear power plants.

The new polling data come from state research agency CBOS, which regularly conducts surveys on attitudes towards the development of nuclear power in Poland.

In the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in neighbouring Ukraine, support among Poles for nuclear energy fell to just 20% in 1989. That led the government to in 1990 abandon the half-built attempt to develop Poland’s first nuclear power station.

Over the last decade (following the Fukushima disaster in Japan), support has ranged between 34% and 40%, outweighed by opposition of between 45% and 53%.

However, the latest poll, conducted last month, saw a jump to 75% support – by far the highest figure ever recorded – with opposition at just 13%.

Even when asked if they would support the building of a nuclear power station near where they live, a majority (54%) were in favour and only (34%) against. The former figure has risen by 30 percentage points since last year and the latter has declined by the same amount.

Likewise, 58% said they have no concern about the operation of nuclear plants in Poland while 35% said they do have concerns, reports Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. Concerns were more often expressed by women (42%) than men (26%).

Similarly, support for nuclear was higher among men (87%) than women (64%), and also among those with higher education (81%) than only primary or secondary education (66%) and among those living in large cities (83%) than rural areas (69%).

Support varied relatively little based on political affiliation, but was strongest among those with self-declared right-wing views (83%) and lower among those with left-wing (75%) or centrist (76%) orientations.

Meanwhile, three quarters (76%) of all respondents said that investing in nuclear is necessary if Poland is to move away from coal, which currently generates around 70% of its electricity. That was a sharp rise on the figure of 44% recorded last year.

In October, the Polish government picked the United States as its international partner in developing Poland’s first nuclear plant, which is scheduled to open in 2033. Soon after, South Korea was chosen as the partner in a similar project being developed by a group of private and state-owned firms.

Source: Notes From Poland