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    Some 60% of Estonians back introduction of nuclear energy

    May 19, 2023 - BBC International Reports (Europe)


      Text of report in English by privately-owned Baltic News Service on 19 May

      Tallinn, 19 May: More than half, or 60%, of the residents of Estonia have a positive attitude towards the possible use of nuclear energy, it appears from a survey conducted in April.

      Head of the nuclear energy working group, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of the Environment Meelis Munt said that Estonia has yet to say yes or no to nuclear energy.

      "After the final report of the nuclear energy working group is completed, the Riigikogu will likely decide next year whether nuclear energy could be a solution for energy production for Estonia," he said. "Public opinion certainly plays an important role in the decision-making."

      According to the recent survey, Estonian residents consider nuclear energy to be the most suitable alternative to oil shale in order to produce weatherproof energy. Proponents of nuclear energy believe that it contributes to the fulfillment of climate goals, ensures the independence and energy security of the Estonian state, and is a favourable energy source for the consumer. There are more people in favor of nuclear energy among men, people with higher education and residents of northern and western Estonia.

      Altogether 25% of the population is against nuclear energy, the majority of whom are women, residents aged 25-54, people with primary and basic education, and residents of northeastern Estonia. Opponents consider the disadvantages of nuclear energy to be its excessive time and resource consumption, the associated risks and the obligation to handle radioactive waste. It is also considered problematic that Estonia lacks sufficient national competence to deploy nuclear energy.

      The previous similar study was commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment in February of last year. Compared to this, the share of those residents who are unfamiliar with the field of nuclear energy has decreased.

      The recent study also discussed how the Russian attack on Ukraine has affected the views of the people of Estonia on nuclear energy issues. A quarter of Estonians between the ages of 15 and 74 think that nuclear energy should be used in Estonia to ensure national energy security, while another quarter is more afraid than before that the use of nuclear energy may increase the risk of a nuclear disaster in the event of an attack by a foreign country.

      The survey was carried out by AS Norstat Eesti and OU Eesti Uuringukeskus. The next similar survey is planned to be conducted in the second half of the year.

      Source: Baltic News Service, Tallinn, in English 0712 gmt 19 May 23


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