U of S survey reveals Saskatchewan attitudes towards nuclear issues

Saskatchewan residents are generally supportive of nuclear research and technology, including uranium mining and nuclear power, according to results from The Saskatchewan Nuclear Attitudes Study released by the Nuclear Policy Research Initiative (NPRI) at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).

"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 researcher Jana Fried, a postdoctoral fellow with the U of S Social Sciences Research Laboratory (SSRL). "What we found out is that attitudes toward nuclear are generally positive but also nuanced, with Saskatchewan people seeing both positive and negative aspects."

"Nuclear development is ultimately an issue of public policy," said Scott Bell, professor in the Department of Geography and Planning. "We hope the results of this study will inform public discussion and debate."

The NPRI team consists of Fried and Bell, along with Loleen Berdahl, associate professor in the Department of Political Studies and Maureen Bourassa, assistant professor of marketing in the Edwards School of Business.

The study results are being presented as four policy briefs. The findings released today are part of the first two policy briefs: an overview of attitudes related to the nuclear energy sector, and a summary of attitudes related to nuclear medicine, uranium mining and nuclear waste management. An additional two briefs, one on people's values and knowledge related to nuclear issues, and another on the perception of trust in decision makers related to nuclear development, will be released Wednesday, May 14.

The study's findings include:

Nuclear power: Half of all respondents reported having a positive impression of nuclear power, with two thirds of respondents saying that they would support Saskatchewan using nuclear power in the future.

Safety of nuclear power: Responses were evenly divided on nuclear power being safe or harmful to human health, with 44 percent indicating that nuclear power was safe and 43 percent saying that nuclear power is hazardous.

Uranium mining: 77 percent support continued uranium mining in Saskatchewan.

Nuclear waste management: 56 percent opposed nuclear waste storage in the province, and respondents showed even greater opposition - 70 percent - to the idea of nuclear waste being stored near their own community.

Nuclear medicine: 70 percent of respondents have a positive impression of nuclear medicine, with 80 percent supporting continued funding of nuclear medicine research in the province.

The Saskatchewan Nuclear Attitudes Study was one of the first projects funded by the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation in January 2013. The survey on which it is based was conducted by the Survey and Group Analysis Laboratory (SGAL), located within the U of S Social Science Research Laboratories, between September 27 and October 11, 2013. The survey consisted of a 15 minute telephone survey of randomly-selected 1,355 Saskatchewan residents over the age of 18 from across the province. The results are considered to represent the population of Saskatchewan, with results being accurate plus or minus 2.66 percent, 19 times out of 20. In some cases results were tabulated according to Saskatchewan's census districts, providing insight into how attitudes vary across the province.


For editors and producers: Â Summaries of the first two briefs are attached. They and the full study briefs are available at the NPRI website at http://ssrl.usask.ca/npri. The researchers are also available for interviews through the contacts below.


Jennifer Thoma

Media Relations Specialist

University of Saskatchewan Marketing and Communications Team


Michael Robin

Research Communications Specialist

University of Saskatchewan



Matthew Dalzell

Communications Officer

Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation

306-966-3379 C: 306-280-6245

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