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MOSCOW, May 31 (Itar-Tass) —— More than half of Russians support the use of atomic energy, according to a public opinion poll conducted by VTsIOM Russian Public Opinion Research Centre.
The poll shows that 27 percent of respondents called for building new nuclear power plants, 38 percent said operating nuclear power plants should continue working but no new ones should be built, and 26 percent believe that the number of nuclear power plants should be reduced.
In 2011, after the accident at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, only 16 percent of those polled said more number of nuclear power plants should be built. Sociologists note that young and highly educated Russians living in cities with a population of one million and more and in large and medium-sized cities call for the development of the industry.
The poll was conducted in 138 settlements in 46 regions across Russia and involved 1,600 people.
First Deputy Federation Council Chairman for Economic Policy Valentin Mezhevich believes that the poll showed an “instructive picture”.
“If we add up the percentage of those who support the construction of new nuclear power plants and those who want the existing ones to continue to operate, we will get 65 percent, i.e. two-thirds of Russians support the nuclear power industry,” he said.
“Russian people understand that we have made the necessary conclusions from the Chernobyl accident as borne out by constant development of technologies and improvement of safety systems. People view the nuclear power industry as a source of innovation development based on safe operation of the Russian nuclear power industry,” Mezhevich said.
In his opinion, “It is obvious for the majority of people that nuclear power plants give stable energy supply in large volumes, that regions and infrastructure develop, investments are made and new jobs are created owing to nuclear power facilities.”
The MP said that people have started paying more attention to safety after the Fukushima accident. “Obviously, Rosatom gives priority to safety, makes checks and orders additional equipment wherever necessary. These measures are reported to people promptly, and it is quite natural that the lee of trust in atomic energy in Russia is quite high even despite the Fukushima accident,” he said, adding that the so-called “Fukushima syndrome has been basically overcome in Russia”.