20 Mars 2014
March 18, 2014
A majority of respondents continue to oppose bringing idle nuclear reactors back online, despite moves by the Abe administration to allow restarts as soon as this summer, according to an Asahi Shimbun poll.
Fifty-nine percent of the respondents said they were opposed to the restart of nuclear power plants, outnumbering the 28 percent who said they supported the move, according to the nationwide telephone poll conducted March 15-16. The Asahi Shimbun randomly contacted 3,402 eligible voters, excluding some parts of Fukushima Prefecture, where the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is located. It received 1,721 valid responses, or 51 percent of the total contacted.
The newspaper asked the same question in previous surveys conducted in July, September last year and this January. In each of the past polls, 56 percent of the respondents opposed the restart of reactors.
The latest survey revealed that 39 percent of men supported putting the reactors back online, while 51 percent were opposed. Sixty-six percent of women opposed the move, while 18 percent supported it.
Regarding a nuclear phase-out plan, 77 percent said they supported one, while only 14 percent were opposed.
Asked about how anxious they feel about the possibility of a serious accident at a nuclear power plant other than the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, 36 percent said they were “greatly” anxious, and 50 percent said they were anxious “to some degree.”
Although the figure for those who replied “greatly” declined from 52 percent in the May 2011 survey, the ratio of those who were anxious “greatly” or “to some degree” still constituted nearly 90 percent of the respondents. Even among the respondents who supported the restart of reactors, 69 percent replied they were anxious about the possibility of a severe accident.
On the issue that disposal sites for high-level radioactive waste from spent fuel at reactors have yet to be designated, 76 percent said it is “significantly problematic” and 19 percent said it is “problematic to some degree.” Even those who supported the resumption of reactors, 56 percent selected “significantly” and 34 percent chose “to some degree.”
The Nuclear Regulation Authority plans to draft safety inspection reports on the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, ahead of other reactors. The reactors could be brought back online as early as this summer provided they pass a tightened safety screening process. Currently, all 48 of the nation's reactors are offline.