Public opinion has turned against nuclear power in nearly all countries that already have established atomic programmes, with the US and UK being the two exceptions, a poll has found.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the strongest anti-nuclear sentiment is in Germany and Japan, while African countries currently without any plants were in favour of new build plans.

The survey conducted by research firm GlobeScan polled 23,231 people in 23 countries and found that most of those in countries with operational nuclear plants are opposed to the building of new reactors.

Some 39 per cent said that their government should “use the nuclear power stations we already have, but not build new ones”, while 30 per cent stated that “nuclear power is dangerous and we should close down all operating nuclear plants as soon as possible”.

The countries where public opinion was most strongly against nuclear were Germany (90 per cent), Japan (84 per cent) France (84 per cent), Mexico (82 per cent) and Russia (80 per cent).

However, since the last GlobeScan nuclear poll in 2005, support for building new plants has grown in the UK, from 33 per cent to 37 per cent, and has stayed almost unchanged in the US, falling from 40 per cent to 39 per cent.

Other pro-nuclear countries that have existing facilities also include China (42 per cent) and Pakistan (39 per cent), while those countries currently without any plants that were most in favour of a nuclear roll out were Nigeria (41 per cent), Ghana (33 per cent) and Egypt (31 per cent).

GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller said: “The lack of impact the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan has had on public views towards nuclear power in the UK and US is noteworthy. This contrasts with significantly increased opposition to nuclear new-build in most countries we’ve tracked since 2005.”