A new survey says Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan are more likely to have a negative impression of nuclear power than other demographic groups.
The survey was conducted by the Nuclear Policy Research Initiative at the University of Saskatchewan.
As part of the survey, researchers interviewed roughly 1,300 people across the province in September and October 2013.
Of those interviewed, roughly 51 per cent had an overall positive impression of nuclear power while 23 per cent had a negative impression.
Maureen Bourassa, a member of the research team, also says questions about the future of nuclear power in Saskatchewan elicited strong emotional responses both for and against.
“The mix of emotional reactions was a bit surprising, that both positive and negative reactions in terms of emotionality were felt towards the possibility of nuclear power in the future,” she says.
The survey also finds people living in northern Saskatchewan have lower trust in nuclear regulators than other parts of the province.
The survey shows just under 30 per cent of people in northern Saskatchewan have high trust in nuclear regulators.
The average for the province is almost 74 per cent.
On the flipside, people in northern Saskatchewan have higher levels of trust in environmental groups on nuclear issues than other areas of the province.
Researchers found almost 52 per cent of people living in northern Saskatchewan have high trust in environmental groups on nuclear issues.
The next highest area was the southwestern corner of the province at about 47 per cent.
Loleen Berdahl, another member of the research team, says the data shows people tend to place more value in trust of certain actors in the nuclear debate rather than pure knowledge.
“Often people say, ‘Oh well, we just need more knowledge,’ and this sort of suggests a bit more nuance that perhaps it’s not more knowledge that’s needed but more effort made to build trusting relationships between different people speaking on either sides of the debate.”
The survey was part of the Nuclear Facts Forum in Saskatoon Thursday night put on by the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation.