Growing number of Canadians favour nuclear expansion, says poll

17 January 2023

Support for nuclear power in Canada is growing, with nearly twice as many Canadians now supporting the expansion of nuclear power in the country as opposing it, new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute has found.

Ontario Power Generation last year submitted an application for a licence to construct a small modular at this site adjacent to its existing nuclear power plant (Image: OPG)

Nearly three in five Canadians - 57% - said they would like to see further development of nuclear power generation in the poll, conducted in November and December 2022, up from 51% in June 2021. Support for the increase of supply of other sources such as oil and gas, coal, solar, and wind has remained stable.

"2022 saw a resurgence in appreciation for the potential of nuclear power, after a period of decline for the industry brought on by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011," the institute noted. "An oil price shock in 2022 brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made some countries delay or reconsider their nuclear phaseouts. With many countries setting net zero emissions goals, there is significant appeal in nuclear power as a low emission energy source."

Support for more nuclear power generation was found to be high in Ontario (70%) and New Brunswick (63%), which already have nuclear power plants, and also in Saskatchewan (73%) and Alberta (71%), which along with Ontario and New Brunswick are considering the introduction of small modular reactors. Opposition to the further nuclear is highest in in Quebec, where 56% of those polled opposed, or strongly opposed, nuclear expansion. Quebec has not had any nuclear generating capacity since 2012, when its provincial government decided to close rather than refurbish the Gentilly 2 reactor.

The online survey was conducted from between 28 November and 3 December, with a representative randomised sample of 5,030 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.

The full report is available here.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News