For the sake of self-promotion (not really), here is a “tiny piece on nuclear energy in Belarus”:http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/belarus-takes-a-second-look-nuclear-energy 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”:http://www.jamestown.org/authors_details.php?author_id=189has 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”:http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2369688 to show low public support for the NPP project in Belarus (“only *32.5%* in 2006”:http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2371710).
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_”:http://www-pub.iaea.org/mtcd/meetings/PDFplus/2007/cn142/cn142Papers/38_A_Mikhalevich.doc presented at “this 2007 IAEA Conference”:http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/meetings/cn142papers.asp.
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”:http://naviny.by/rubrics/inter/2008/05/08/ic_news_259_290276/ and “here”:http://www.belisa.org.by/en/news/stnews/manufacture/af2560a4b75f8890.html) *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”:http://www-pub.iaea.org/mtcd/meetings/PDFplus/2007/cn142/cn142Papers/38_A_Mikhalevich.doc. And while we are on the topic, you should check out the videos at the “IAEA In Focus:Chernobyl”:http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/Chernobyl/ section.