The attitude of Russians to the atomic energy industry has drastically changed over the past quarter of a century: 56 percent opposed its development (14 percent voiced their support) in 1990, and now atomic energy is welcomed by 58 percent (and opposed by 28 percent), the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) has said.
Seventy-three percent of respondents believe that modern nuclear power plants are safe, and 9 percent claim the opposite, the sociologists said.
In the opinion of 64 percent of respondents, a Chernobyl-type accident is highly unlikely to happen in Russia in the upcoming years, while 28 percent do not rule out this scenario. The center polled 1,600 Russian citizens over the phone on April 9-10.
Respondents mentioned radiation-related diseases and mortality (61 percent) and environmental damage (17 percent) amongst the worst consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.
An overwhelming majority of Russians are concerned about the environment: a majority fear pollution of waters, seas and oceans (31 percent vs. 14 percent in 1990) and the atmosphere (27 percent), while only 6 percent are afraid of radioactive contamination, compared to 30 percent in 1990.
The Chernobyl NPP accident occurred in Ukraine on April 26, 1986. The fourth reactor unit was destroyed by an explosion, and high quantities of radioactive substances were discharged into the air.
This was the largest accident in the entire history of atomic energy in terms of fatalities, impacted people and economic losses.
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