An overwhelming majority of EU citizens call for the concrete
implementation of nuclear waste disposal facilities and for
the development of a more common European approach in this
These are some of the key messages expressed in the 2008
Eurobarometer on Radioactive Waste.
The Eurobarometer survey, published by the European Commission,
examines the attitudes of European citizens towards radioactive
waste and its safe management in the context of nuclear energy,
as well as their level of knowledge on this issue. This poll
is a follow-up to three previous surveys conducted in 1998,
2001 and 2005.
Radioactive waste remains a major issue for the acceptance
of nuclear energy. Four out of ten of those opposed to nuclear
energy would change their mind if there was a safe and permanent
solution for the management of radioactive waste.
Almost nine out of ten respondents consider that each EU
Member State should establish a management plan for radioactive
waste, with a specified fixed timetable. A similar number
of respondents want the European Union to monitor this situation
and to ensure a level playing field between Member States.
According to the 2008 Survey, support for nuclear energy
has increased in the European Union since 2005. The support
is highest in countries with existing operational nuclear
power plants and in those where citizens feel that they are
well informed about radioactive waste issues.
Nearly two-thirds of European citizens now recognise the
key beneficial effects of nuclear energy - such as diversification
of energy sources, decrease in the dependence on oil and reduction
of greenhouse gas emissions.
Information about how radioactive waste is managed is most
trusted when it comes from independent sources such as scientists
and non-governmental organisations. Moreover, Europeans have
a pro-active attitude towards decision making. A majority
of EU citizens would prefer to be directly consulted and to
participate in the decision-making process, should an underground
disposal site be constructed near their home.
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