SASKATOON – Two-thirds of residents support the possibility of nuclear power in the province, according to a University of Saskatchewan (U of S) study released Monday.
The Saskatchewan nuclear attitudes study is one of the first projects at U of S to be funded by the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Center for Nuclear Innovation.
Nuclear policy research initiative (NPRI) researchers conducted a survey last fall to gain a better understanding of the province’s stance on uranium mining, energy production and radioactive waste storage.
“Nuclear power and nuclear technology is a controversial topic and we wanted to survey Saskatchewan residents to gain a better understanding of their attitudes related to the nuclear sector,” said Jana Fried, a postdoctoral fellow with the U of S social sciences research laboratory.
Saskatchewan is Canada’s only province with uranium ore production and it does not have a nuclear power station.
According to the study, Saskatchewan is one of three provinces that currently rely on fossil fuels for a majority of their electricity.
The survey says 66 per cent said they would support Saskatchewan possibly generating nuclear power in the future.
However, 56 per cent are opposed to storing nuclear waste in the province.
People appear evenly split on the safety aspect of nuclear power with 44 per cent saying it’s safe and 43 per cent believing it’s harmful.
Seventy-seven per cent support uranium mining.
“What we found out is that attitudes toward nuclear are generally positive but also nuanced, with Saskatchewan people seeing both positive and negative aspects,” said Fried.
Respondents indicated they typically judge the benefits to be greater than the risks.
The survey consisted of a 15 minute phone conversation with 1,355 randomly-selected adults across the province.
The U of S will release two more policy briefs Wednesday and results from the second phase of the study are expected this fall.
Watch the video below: Nuclear power in Saskatchewan