Independent public opinion surveys show resistance of Czech people against nuclear energy grows stronger

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Three public opinion surveys on nuclear energy were conducted this year by these companies: Focus Marketing & Social Research (at the request of the Friends of the Earth Czech Republic), the Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM) of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the online Centre for Analysis and Empirical Studies (SANEP). In the following text, we will remind ourselves of their results and the relationship they have with the National Action Plan for the Development of Nuclear Energy which was adopted in June.

Independent survey by sociological agency Focus in March 2015 found that two-thirds of the Czech population preferred energy based on savings or renewable energy sources, while only a fifth supported nuclear power and coal mining. Also, 76 % of respondents wished for the state support in case they wanted to generate electricity for their own consumption at home and to reduce dependence on large producers of "dirty" electricity.

CVVM survey from May 2015 found that only 22 percent of respondents agreed with the construction of new reactors at Dukovany and Temelin and that only 6 % of people definitely wanted it. Construction of new Temelin units 3 and 4 was not wanted by 39 percent of respondents (only 12 % of respondents wanted it definitely). Calla interpreted the survey results this way in its press release of June 9, entitled "Support for the expansion of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic is on the decrease". Unfortunately, the vast majority of Czech media took over the version of the Czech press agency, which ignored the long-term trend of decline in the people's support for nuclear energy and interpreted the same survey results as "the majority of the Czech public gives support to nuclear energy".

However, the attention of the Austrian media Radionews and OOE-Nachrichten was drawn to the SANEP survey from July, in which people could only choose from two options: breaking the coal mining limits and completion of nuclear units at Temelin and Dukovany. 78.4 % of respondents preferred nuclear energy. Daily newspaper OOE-Nachrichten therefore concluded from this survey that the Upper Austrian and Czech anti-nuclear environmental NGOs (including Calla), which receive financial support from the state of Upper Austria, do not use financial support effectively, if the majority of the Czech population promotes nuclear. Councillor of Upper Austria for Environment, Rudi Anschober, objected against this reasoning and emphasized the importance of the activities of associations in both countries, also in connection with the June legal action at the European Court of Justice against subsidies for Hinkley Point C, which would distort the competitiveness of renewable energy sources.

Thus, while not giving so much attention to the July SANEP survey that Anschober labeled as an attempt for manipulation of public opinion in the country, based on the results of the March and May surveys, we see that in the Czech Republic there is slowly but surely growing the opposition to nuclear energy and thus against the National Action Plan for the Development of Nuclear Energy in the Czech Republic. This plan, as well as the project Hinkley, focuses on state financial support for the construction of four new reactors at Temelin and Dukovany and follows up on the State Energy Policy adopted in May, which promotes up to 50 % of electricity from nuclear power in the Czech Republic by 2040.

Olga Kališová, Calla (June 17, 2015)

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