One-third of Italians are in favour of reconsidering the use of nuclear energy in the country, according to the results of a public opinion poll conducted on behalf of Comitato Nucleare e Ragione. More than half of respondents said they would not exclude the future use of new advanced nuclear technologies.

(Image: Comitato Nucleare e Ragione)

Comitato Nucleare e Ragione (Committee on Nuclear and Reason) said it commissioned the poll "in order to feel the pulse of Italian people about nuclear energy, given the renewed international attention on this energy source in the context of decarbonisation and climate targets."

The survey, conducted by polling firm SWG, questioned 800 adults between 16 and 18 June.

According to the results, 33% of respondents said they supported the use of nuclear energy in Italy, a similar proportion to a survey conducted in 2011. Men and young people were found to be most in favour.

"This is, after all, a remarkable result, given that the issue has been completely excluded from the political debate in recent years," said Comitato Nucleare e Ragione.

The main reasons given for supporting nuclear energy include: improved safety of new technologies; potential contribution to Italy's energy security; and low carbon emissions. Those opposing nuclear power mainly had concerns about radioactive waste management and the possibility of accidents at nuclear plants.

When asked about the use of new reactor designs, 56% of respondents said they would not exclude the use of new nuclear technologies, with 7% saying they are "absolutely necessary" and 22% saying they are "promising and should be considered." 28% of respondents said new technologies should be rejected.

More than half (53%) of respondents did not favour the European Commission including nuclear energy in the sustainable finance taxonomy, with 30% supporting its inclusion.

In response to being asked how informed they were about nuclear energy, only 6% of respondents said they were well-informed, with 35% saying they had sufficient knowledge. The remainder said they were little or not at all informed.

Trieste-based Comitato Nucleare e Ragione was established in April 2011, following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It was founded as a cultural and no-profit organisation by young physics researchers and students of the University of Trieste and other European research centres.

Italy operated a total of four nuclear power plants starting in the early 1960s but decided to phase out nuclear power in a referendum that followed the 1986 Chernobyl accident. It closed its last two operating plants, Caorso and Trino Vercellese, in 1990.

In late March 2011, following the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the Italian government approved a moratorium of at least one year on construction of nuclear power plants in the country, which had been looking to restart its long-abandoned nuclear programme. In a poll held in June of that year, 94% of voters rejected the construction of any new nuclear reactors in Italy.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Friday, 23 July 2021
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