Austrians fear Japan crisis will boost energy prices

Most Austrians fear that the nuclear disaster in Japan will lead to higher energy prices.Linz-based research agency Market found that 62 per cent expect electricity and other energy sources to become more expensive due to the detonations at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.Several countries across the world are currently reconsidering their plans to engage with or enter into nuclear energy technology after the recent occurrences which were sparked by a strong quake. Experts have said consumer prices may soar if less nuclear energy is generated as a consequence.Austria’s rejection of nuclear energy is part of the country’s constitution. Several domestic electricity providers however import this form of energy from European companies. Around six per cent of energy used by Austrian households and businesses may have been generated by nuclear power plants, according to energy sector watchdog E-Control.The Austrian Energy Agency recently revealed Austrians had to cough up 8.9 per cent more for the same energy goods and services last December than in the same month of 2009.Market, which interviewed more than 400 people for its latest poll, also said today (Thurs) that eight of 10 Austrians are sceptical about considerations by European leaders to turn their backs on nuclear energy.Only 24 per cent of Austrians questioned by Market said they were of the opinion that the dozens of nuclear power plants in Europe were generally safe.A majority of 79 per cent told the public opinion firm that the current developments pose opportunities for Austrian companies which focus on developing renewable energy systems.The Carinthian Humaninstitut found earlier this week that 81 per cent of Austrians were frightened of the consequences the Japanese tragedy could have on their lives.Analysts meanwhile announced the incidents were likely to have negative effects on the Austrian tourism industry. The sector is responsible for around 18 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). There are around 1.1 million hotel beds in Austria. They explained many Japanese who were initially intending to go abroad in the near future may not take their vacations for a significant period of time. Around 267,000 overnight stays by people from Japan were recorded in Vienna alone in 2010.Tens of thousands of people lost their homes due to the earthquake and the tsunami waves which it created.- – -For information how to support Austrian aid initiatives for Japan,