UK Energy Research Centre

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UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) was established in 2004 to carry out research on sustainable energy systems. Their research informs UK policy development and research strategy. UKERC is a consortium of academic partners from over 30 different UK institutions.


Nuclear opinion research

Nuclear spin.png This article is part of the Nuclear Spin project of Spinwatch.

In September 2013 research published by UKERC found that while British public remains divided on the use of nuclear power, opposition had fallen in recent times despite the 2011 Fukushima tsunami and nuclear accident in Japan.

Part-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the study by researchers at Cardiff University and the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan was carried out nationally representative surveys before and after the Fukushima disaster. They were surprised by the results, which found that 32 per cent of people in the UK currently support nuclear and 29 per cent oppose its use. This is compared to 26 per cent in support and 37 per cent in opposition in 2005.[1]

Lead researcher Dr Wouter Poortinga of the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University commented:

British attitudes towards nuclear power have been surprisingly robust in the wake of the Fukushima accident, and trust in regulation has held up fairly well. It even appears that the attitudes to nuclear have softened somewhat after Fukushima. However, in reality, nuclear power remains relatively unpopular as compared to renewable energy sources.
We hope these findings will prove beneficial to both policy makers and industry, and help to ensure that key decisions about the future of Britain’s nuclear policy are informed by the best available evidence on public values and attitudes.

Meanwhile in Japan the study ascertained that very few Japanese people want to see nuclear power expanded or continued at current levels of supply (15 per cent). Trust in its regulation was already low before Fukushima (19 per cent in 2007), and had dropped to even lower levels (9 per cent in both 2011 and 2013). [2]


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  1. ESRC, "Less opposition to nuclear power," Economic and Social Research Council, 24 Sep 2013, accessed 17 Oct 2013.
  2. Sustainable Review, "Public opinion split on nuclear power," 19 Sep 2013, accessed 17 Oct 2013.
  3. SMC, Funding, accessed 20 Sep 2013.
  4. [ Associate members list, accessed 22 October 2015