Consumers around the world, worried about reliable energy supplies and pollution, said their nations should reduce use of oil, natural gas and coal to make electricity in favor of nuclear and renewable power, according to a 20-country survey by Accenture.
Results of Accenture's Multinational Nuclear Power Survey showed that 88 percent of the more than 10,500 respondents said reducing reliance on fossil-fueled power generation was important or very important to improve energy security and trim emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas blamed for climate change.
Response ratios ranged from lows of 72 percent in Russia and 74 percent in Japan to highs of 98 percent in Brazil and 96 percent among Germans.
Electricity from wind, solar and other renewable sources was seen as one way to pare the need for fossil-fueled electricity, but more than one-third of those surveyed said more power from nuclear plants will also be needed to cut oil, gas and coal use.
U.S. and global aspirations for lower carbon, or-zero carbon electricity, are unattainable without nuclear in the mix, said Daniel Krueger, an Accenture managing director for the global generation and energy markets group.
New York-based Accenture, a global management consulting and technology firm, works with nuclear industry clients, primarily in information technology.
Nearly three-fourths of respondents said nuclear power will play an important role in meeting future electric needs.
Overall, men favored increased use of nuclear while women with small children raised the most concern about nuclear safety issues, waste disposal and potential terrorism, according to Accenture.
In many countries surveyed, public sentiment toward nuclear power has softened over the past three years, Accenture said.
About 37 percent of those surveyed said they were more supportive of starting to use or increasing nuclear capacity versus 11 percent who said they were less supportive.
People surveyed in China and South Africa were the most supportive of using or adding nuclear capacity while, surprisingly, consumers in countries like France, Japan, Germany and Belgium were more negative.
In a warning to the industry, Krueger attributed that erosion in support to recent nuclear plant operating problems in Japan and France.
Based on the population's feeling about how those incidents were handled, and whether they were adequately explained, affected their view of nuclear, Krueger said.