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Energy network launches international web survey


A European website designed to stimulate informed debate on future energy sources this week launches a multi-lingual survey to gauge public attitudes to, and knowledge of, crucial energy issues.

The INTUSER website ( is a new on-line forum for both the general public and energy experts to communicate about energy issues – from nuclear power and global warming to alternative energy sources such as solar and wave power.

Renewable energy expert Robin Saunders, of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, has worked with international partners to develop the website’s content.

He explained, “There’s little public involvement in energy decision making across Europe, and public awareness of the most important issues is limited – partly because much news media coverage of energy controversies is so ill-informed that it does more harm than good. Various propaganda battles between environmental lobby groups and major energy providers have muddied the waters even further.

“So through the INTUSER project we’re trying to get people thinking rationally about the benefits, costs, drawbacks and risks of all kinds of energy sources. We want to challenge assumptions, and to encourage scientists and other experts to communicate more effectively with the public about energy issues. It’s vital that we engage far more people in the process of making informed strategic energy decisions that will affect the future, not just of Europe but of the whole planet.

“The sort of questions we’re raising are, ‘is there such a thing as safe nuclear energy?’, ‘Are people prepared to pay a premium for energy from renewable sources?’, and ‘What technological developments are needed to achieve a safe, sustainable mix of energy sources for the generations to come?’.

"Our first task is to find out more about the public’s views on energy usage, to help shape our strategy for future developments. So we would like as many people as possible to log on to the website before the New Year and complete the survey they find there."

Jon Pyle | alfa
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