Lib Dem members survey: majority back nuclear power as part of UK’s energy mix

by Stephen Tall on April 27, 2011

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Over 530 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results this week.

Almost 60% of Lib Dem members back nuclear power

LDV asked: Do you believe that nuclear power, alongside oil and gas and renewable sources, should be part of the UK’s energy mix?

    58% – Yes, nuclear should be part of the mix
    36% – No, nuclear power should play no part in the UK’s energy mix
    5% – Don’t know / No opinion

A convincing, though, not overwhelming majority of Lib Dem members continue to back nuclear power as part of the UK’s energy mix according to our survey. We asked a similar (though not exact) version of this question last August — then, 68% backed nuclear power with 25% opposed. The narrowing in support this time round suggests recent events in Japan may have heightened public concerns about nuclear’s safety as an energy source.

Here is a selection of your comments:

I fear we have no choice.

Yes to funding research into safer nuclear power (e.g. thorium). No to subsidising nuclear power stations; this means ensuring nuclear power plants fund their own clean-up costs somehow. Fukushima should prompt us to re-examine nuclear safety (including addressing regulatory capture), but nuclear is still safer than coal (similarly to flying being safer than driving; when it goes wrong it goes very wrong, so becomes more newsworthy).

I would prefer to avoid nuclear power but I am prepared to accept it.

We don’t want another Japan here in Britain.

In spite of Fukushima, I still believe global warming is a bigger immediate danger

My heart says no, my head says yes.

Nuclear technology has moved on since our own stations and the ones in Japan were built.

We have to reduce our consumption of energy by living simpler. It starts with we want from life not the technology to sustain our insatiable demand for energy.

Woeful lack of information, investment and commitment to renewables. It’s now or never!

I personally think we should be working harder to reduce our reliance on oil and gas. If domestic heating is to be converted from boilers to electrically powered heaters or heat pumps the increase in demand for electricity will be substantial and there is no way renewables will supply enough.

I disagree with the question’s suggestion that oil and gas should be part of the UK’s energy mix!

Existing nuclear stations should be phased out – emphasis on renewable sources

On balance I think no, but not because I’m ideologically opposed – I just think new stations are too costly and risky, taking investment away from renewables which could come on line earlier and are safer…

  • Almost 1,300 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Over 530 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 18th and 24th April.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past accurately predicted the winners of the contest for Party President, and the result of the conference decision to approve the Coalition agreement.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll