A press release from the UK Green Party says:

A survey carried out by the Green Party shows overwhelming opposition to Government nuclear plans

Energy Survey shows 87% of public opposed to new nuclear power stations

89% agree ‘the Government had already decided what they wanted to do about nuclear power stations before this debate started’

66% will take part in mass protests against nuclear power, if new stations are approved

So far so good, except…

The data reported covers a survey of 524 people interviewed between 01 February and 18th April 2006. Fieldwork was split between 324 people taking part at the Greenenergyworks website and 190 interviewed via self completion questionnaires distributed public meetings and street stalls held by local Green Party groups across England and Wales. Quality systems were included such that no respondent could complete the survey more than once.

They did not survey a random sample of the population so the survey is worthless as a measure of what the public thinks. I suspect that people who visit Green Party street stalls or web sites are more likely to oppose nuclear power than the general population.

Unfortunately the bogus survey made it into the Independent:

The Green Party published the results of a survey of 500 members of the public, which it said “dramatically” highlighted public opposition to a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Almost nine out of 10 people rejected the nuclear option, while 98% backed greater investment in renewable energy and 99% said more should be done to promote energy-saving measures in the home.

“This puts paid to any suggestion that nuclear power is accepted as a necessary evil by the UK,” said party spokesman Keith Taylor.

“Despite the Government’s ceaseless attempts to frame the debate as one of ‘nuclear, or the lights go out’, the British public are not convinced.”

References to the poll appear in a Google News Search in the Guardian and the Telegraph, but not in the linked stories.

Renewables alone cannot fill energy gap, says Darling
Guardian Unlimited, UK – Jul 11, 2006
… The Green party published the results of a survey of 500 members of the public, which, it said … Almost nine out of 10 people rejected the nuclear option …

Key energy review backs nuclear power
Telegraph.co.uk, United Kingdom – Jul 11, 2006
… In an opinion poll commissioned for the party, almost nine out of 10 people rejected the nuclear option, while 98 per cent backed greater investment in …

It looks like those two papers realized that the poll was worthless and corrected their stories but the original version was still in Google’s cache.

Many thanks to Naadir Jeewa who sent me the press release from the Green Party and found the disappearing Guardian reference.


  1. #1 natural cynic
    July 14, 2006

    Yesterday I heard on All Things Considered (NPR) that the Blair government would OK new nuclear plants, however they would end government subsidies. This would probably cripple new power plant construction since all the operational nuclear need massive subsidies to be built.

  2. #2 Markk
    July 14, 2006

    Yes I heard that Marketplace (not ATC) commentary, and was struck by how bad the argument was made – The commenter was complaining about subsidies then complained about how the Power companies were passing along government imposed costs to the public… huh? If coal plants were required to sequester their products like nuclear plants for as long as they were active, well … Anyway the govt has good reasons to highly regulate Nuclear plants and that should be part of the costs. This discussion obscured some good points by the speaker about conservation.

  3. #3 David Roberts
    July 14, 2006

    There is no such thing as a nuclear industry without government subsidies — never has been, never will be. Either this is a stealthy way for the UK gov’t to say No to nukes, or they’re planning some stealthy subsidies. I suspect the latter.

  4. #4 Steve
    July 14, 2006

    Anybody got any actual answers to the problem of providing enough energy for the UK populace? Renewable sources cannot provide sufficient, and even these provoke endless criticism from the local NIMBYS, What do we do, burn more coal? Switch off our PC’s? or maybe have an actual debate without reacting hysterically to everything? NO solution is perfect, but hard choices have to be made. The sooner we face up to that rather than beating the partisan drums the better.

  5. #5 Ian Gould
    July 14, 2006

    “Renewable sources cannot provide sufficient…”

    Got any proof for that? Renewables btw include stuff like passive solar; industrial-scale biomass (i.e. growing wood specifically to co-fire in coal-powered plants), small-scale hydro and tidal power which looks like it is about to be commercialsied in a big way.

    “burn more coal?”

    Sure, why not? The technology already exists to drastically reduce the CO2 emissions from coal. Failing that you can offset the emissiosn with activities like increased forest planting.

    here’s also natural gas which produces about one quarter of the CO2 emissiosn per unit of energy as coal.

    For that matter if its too difficult to achieve the emission reductions within the UK pay other people to reduce their own emissions and sell you the credits.

    “maybe have an actual debate without reacting hysterically to everything?”

    Funny, I don’t see how dismissing out of hand all options other than the one you prefer is contributing to a debate.

    Incidentally, fee free to point ot any examples of hysteria in Tim’s post or other people’s responses.

    Becasue if you can’t I’d say you’re the one “beating the partisan drum”.

  6. #6 cytochrome_sea
    July 15, 2006

    Tim, I disagree with quite a bit of what you post: …here, and in a few other places. No biggie, just felt compelled to say, “Proper Post!” (thought it was kinda harsh though )

  7. #7 Naadir Jeewa
    July 15, 2006

    “Renewable sources cannot provide sufficient…”

    Please see the work of the Sustainable Development Commission, in particular:

    Meeting the Challenge: Energy policy for the 21st century


    The role of nuclear power in a low carbon economy

    They conclude that moving towards local power grids and microgeneration, together with energy efficiency strategies can meet our energy demands sustainably, whilst providing a greater standard of living.

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