New Poll shows stark divisions among Finns toward new nuclear power

Publish date: February 22, 2009

The Finns are sharply divided over the issue of the construction of new nuclear power plants said a YLE news commissioned poll that showed 48 percent of those surveyed are against building new nuclear power plants.

YLE is Finland’s biggest television and radio broadcaster. The polling agency Taloustutkimus was commissioned by YLE to ask 1000 Finns about their nuclear stance.

As recently as the late 1990s, Finland, like Sweden, had said it would be shooting for a nuclear phase out. That attitude deepened in 2001 when Finnish parliament said it would not export spent nuclear fuel to Russia when Moscow passed legislation to accept foreign spent nuclear fuel.

At the same time, however, Finish nuclear authorities have been engaged in rubber-stamping clean bills of health from the ailing Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, which has supplied some power to the Finnish grid.

The Poll found that that 48 percent of Finns surveyed are opposed to the building of nuclear generation capacity in addition to the present four operating units and one facility under construction, YLE reported.

More nuclear capacity has the backing of 37 percent, which is slightly more than seen in a similar poll last spring. The new poll also said 15 percent of those surveyed had no stand on the issues.

The highest level of opposition to nuclear energy is to be found among young Finnish women, said YLE.

Among those who said they are in favour of more nuclear power, 55 percent also said that one more plant would be enough for the country. Twenty-two would be ready to approve of two more plants and 10 percent three new facilities, the poll indicated.