Poll: More than half of Kazakhstanis are against nuclear power plant construction

However, 40% of citizens support the use of nuclear energy, subject to a thorough risk analysis.

In his next nation address, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that by 2030 Kazakhstan will have a shortage of electricity. World experience suggests the most optimal way out – “peaceful atom”.

DEMOSCOPE survey data showed that a total of 55% of citizens are against the construction of a nuclear power plant. 36% of them are categorically against and believe that Kazakhstan is not ready for the construction of such facilities. And 19% are against, as they believe that nuclear power plants are potentially dangerous to the environment and humans.

However, a total of 40% of Kazakhstanis support the president’s initiative. 30% of respondents believe that it is necessary to carefully study the risks and analyze the experience of other countries. And 10% fully supports the use of safe nuclear energy and the construction of nuclear power plants.

The issue of building a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan has been periodically discussed over the past few years. Experts have various arguments for and against. Developed countries that successfully use nuclear energy are often cited as examples. Moreover, the implementation of a large-scale international project will help reduce energy shortages and improve relations with Russia.

As part of the DEMOSCOPE study, respondents were asked to name the main risks of building a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan. In this question, there were several possible answers. The majority of respondents (39%) fear environmental risks associated with the disposal and storage of radioactive waste. 37% associate the risks of NPP construction with the likelihood of emergencies related to corruption and the human factor.

15% fear that the nuclear power plant could become a target for extremists due to its proximity to Afghanistan. 12% consider the increased seismic activity in the region to be the main risk. 8% noted the economic inexpediency of the NPP construction. 24% noted all of the above risk factors. 6% are optimistic and convinced that there are no risks.

At the same time, the survey participants were asked to name the main advantages of building a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan (it was possible to choose several options). The results of the DEMOSCOPE survey show that a third of respondents (35%) believe there is no benefit. On the contrary, 17% are convinced that the nuclear power plant will significantly reduce the consumption of coal and the negative impact on the environment.

14% expect that the nuclear power plant will cover the projected energy deficit and provide the country with atomic energy. 12% hope that the construction of the nuclear power plant will make it possible to use the atomic potential of Kazakhstan, including large reserves of uranium. 10% of citizens named economic growth due to the export of nuclear energy as one of the main advantages. 8% believe that the construction of a nuclear power plant will lead to the growth of innovative projects and strengthen Kazakhstan’s position in the international arena. 24% named all of the above benefits.

It is obvious that the sad historical experience of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, as well as the explosions in Arys and the Zhambyl region, increased the fears of Kazakhstanis about man-made disasters, as well as distrust of the authorities. 39% of respondents are convinced that the risks associated with nuclear power plants are extremely high. Considering the explosions of military warehouses in Kazakhstan, 30% fear that we can repeat the sad experience with the accidents at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and at Fukushima-1.

19% of respondents believe that, on the contrary, these tragedies and accidents can help forsee mistakes and risks in the future. 12% are optimistic and believe that Kazakhstan will repeat the successful best practices in the use of nuclear energy from the United States, China, France and other developed countries.

As part of the DEMOSCOPE survey, the participants were asked to choose the most optimal solution format for the construction of a nuclear power plant. The results of the poll showed that 41% consider it necessary to hold a nationwide referendum. 22% rely on the experience of specialists and believe that it is necessary to attract the best international experts to select a qualified solution.

16% suggest holding open public discussions and only after deciding. 12% are convinced that the solution of this issue is exclusively within the competence of the government. 9% believe that it is necessary to immediately declare a moratorium on the construction of nuclear power plants in Kazakhstan.

The results of the DEMOSCOPE poll showed that public perception of the construction of a nuclear power plant is generally pessimistic. Kazakhstanis do not approve of the construction of a nuclear power plant, fearing mainly environmental and corruption risks. It is characteristic that among the listed advantages, more than a third of citizens believe that there are no advantages at all. At the same time, the most popular arguments in favor of building a nuclear power plant are reducing coal consumption and overcoming energy shortages. Most of the respondents are convinced that the issue of building a nuclear power plant should be put to a general vote.

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* The sum of percentages in some questions is not equal to 100%, since the respondents could choose several answers.

The telephone survey was carried out by the KT Cloud Lab LLP Contact Center.

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