Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Majority of public would like to see more investment in renewables and not nuclear power

Nuclear power debate still divides UK public opinion

Ecologist   11th June, 2010

The majority of the public feels the risks of nuclear power outweigh the benefits and would prefer to see more investment into renewable energy, a new poll shows

Public support for replacing the UK's ageing nuclear power stations has changed little since 2006 when the Government announced its support for a generation of new plants, according to a new survey.

Just 38 per cent of respondents to a Cardiff University/Ipsos MORI poll believed the benefits of nuclear power outweighed the risks and only 39 per cent trusted the industry to run the plants safely.

The survey of 1,822 people across England, Scotland and Wales also found that just 39 per cent trusted the Government to adequately regulate the nuclear industry.

Researchers did find a slight increase in support for nuclear when people were asked about tackling climate change or energy security - 56 per cent would accept the building of new nuclear power stations if it would help tackle climate change.

58 per cent of respondents also believed that the UK needed a mix of energy sources to ensure a reliable supply of electricity, but said that this did not need to include nuclear power.

Renewables support

The vast majority of respondents wanted more investment in renewables, with 71 per cent saying promoting solar and wind power was a better way of tackling climate change than nuclear power.

'In terms of developing a low carbon energy economy for Britain, renewables are clearly favoured whilst nuclear power remains unpopular but may be accepted alongside the development of a range of other energy sources,' said research leader Professor Nick Pidgeon, from Cardiff University.

The survey also showed that there has been a decline in concern about climate change since 2005 (from 82 to 71 per cent) but that the majority (78 per cent) still believes the world's climate is changing. However, a sizeable number (40 per cent) considered the seriousness of climate change had been exaggerated.


Nuclear Power Plant in Gujarat, India

*Update from Mithi Virdi-Jaspara*

The Government of India & the Government of Gujarat have proposed the construction of a 6-8000 MW nuclear power plant in Mithi Virdi-Jaspara villages of Bhavnagar district of Gujarat. National Alliance of People’s Movements, Anu Abhyas Group, Bhavnagar District Gram Bachao Samiti, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Gujarat Lok Samiti have been spearheading the awareness creation campaign in 40 villages in the area for the last three years. Nuclear Power Corporation Ltd. And various Gujarat Government agencies have intensified efforts to set up shop in the area and people have steadfastly resisted all such attempts. A public meeting attended by over 7000 people had been held on 25th April ’10 to impress upon the Government that it should drop any idea of forcing the nuclear power plant on the people of the area.

Various Government agencies have yet persisted with their efforts. Most recently, police officers visited Mithi Virdi and Jaspara villages on 9tth June ’10 to persuade people to let officials undertake soil testing but they were firmly told to go back. The Gram Sabha (village assembly) gave them the same message that night.

Police again went to the villages on 10tth June warning that Government officials would carry out soil testing under police protection on ‘Government lands’ 11^th June morning onwards. The villagers decided to resist this nonviolently come 11th morning at the site (bang next to the infamous Alang ship breaking yard).

Government contractors along with a posse of policemen turned up at the site at before dawn at 5 am. As soon as villagers heard police and other vehicles drive into the area an alert (drum beats in each village) was sounded in the 5 villages likely to lose lands. Regular morning chores such water supply, animal-grazing, cooking & breakfast preparation etc. were suspended and over 3000 people rushed to the site. Government officials at first continued to try to force through the soil testing by unloading drilling equipment but people surrounded the site and refused to allow them to start work. After frantic phone calls to higher ups and everyone who mattered they finally relented and announced withdrawal and started reloading their equipment. So, that was round two to the nonviolent struggle where unarmed nonviolent men, women and children turned back State power (round one of course being the awakening).

An impromptu meeting was held after the police and Government officials left the site to announce that people’s resolve is only firmer now.

*From Mithi Virdi-Jaspara*
Chunibhai Vaidya Swati Desai Lakhan Musafir Krishnakant Chauhan Sagar Rabari Michael Mazgaonkar Rajni Dave Damyanti Modi Anand Mazgaonkar

Photos are at http://mozda.net/temp/jasapara-mithivirdi/  for the next couple of days.