Monday, July 11, 2011

Collusion over nuclear power mirrors the PR disaster of GM crops

The UK government worked hand-in-hand with the nuclear industry to play down the Fukushima crisis: they are treating the public with contempt.

For the British government to attempt to "maintain public confidence among the British public on the safety of nuclear power stations" by colluding in secret with the nuclear industry within just 48 hours of the Fukushima disaster would be laughable if it were not so serious.

It was, at best, only a partial success. This opinion poll from Ipsos-Mori shows that one in five of those Britons now opposed to nuclear power had not been opposed prior to the catastrophe in Japan (see graph).

Across the globe, the poll found two-thirds of the public opposed to nuclear power. (There's more on that in my previous post.) In countries where people are strongly opposed to nuclear power, such as Germany (79% against) and Italy (81%), politicians listened to their electorates and ended their nuclear ambitions. Germany says it will look to a future of renewable energy and with their record of economic success, who would bet against them?

In the UK right now, the public is split 50-50 between supporting and opposing nuclear power, and a majority - 57% - think new reactors should not be built. The problem is that the machinery of government, and the ministers it serves, is 100% behind the plans of the nuclear industry, as the Guardian revealed today. In contrast, the poll showed huge public support across the world for solar power (97% in favour), wind power (93%) and hydroelectricity (91%).

To my mind, it resembles the public relations fiasco of the first genetically modified crops in the UK, which doomed commercial use of the technology for two decades. As it happens, I have no objections to the technology, only grasping business models that can be used to deploy it. (read more)