Belarusians Hate the NPP, Heart the IAEA

For the sake of self-promotion (not really), here is a “tiny piece on nuclear energy in Belarus”: that the folks at the _Bulletin_ kindly edited and put up. I attempted to write about how Belarus’ president Aleksandr Lukashenko is trying to promote a nuclear power plant project to an audience quite “allergic” to nuclear energy after the Chernobyl accident.

I won’t deny that David Marples in his great “Jamestown columns”: has covered this issue in depth already (so has Alexei Breus of _NuclearFuel_, for that matter). In his writings, Marples uses polling data from the “beleaguered independent pollster NISEPI”: to show low public support for the NPP project in Belarus (“only *32.5%* in 2006”:

Yet, I am fascinated by some polling data that seems to be coming from the Belarusian government, which *admits even lower public support for the nuclear power plant project* — *28.3%* in 2005. The source for the data is an obscure paper by Alexander Mikhalevich of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences (NAS) titled “_Technical and Scientific Support of Nuclear Power Development in Belarus_”: presented at “this 2007 IAEA Conference”:

Further, perhaps I am reading too much into how official Minsk has used this (and similar) data when I note in the _Bulletin_ piece that in its public relations campaign

bq. “the [Lukashenko] government *has repeatedly stressed* (like “here”: and “here”: *IAEA support for the [NPP] project* [because its] polling indicates that the Belarusian public trusts the information provided by the agency.”

You can get a sense of what I mean from one of the charts in the NAS paper, which I posted below. There you have it. Individuals close to the Lukashenko government admit that the public *trusts the IAEA (44%) much more than the Belarusian government (3%)*.


Once again, “here is the NAS paper”: And while we are on the topic, you should check out the videos at the “IAEA In Focus:Chernobyl”: section.

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