Slight fall in public support for nuclear in the US

3 April 2014

The number of Americans that favour the use of nuclear energy as one of the ways to provide electricity in the United States has fallen by six percentage points since September to 63%, according to a recent survey sponsored by the US Nuclear Energy Institute.

However, Americans' support for a diversified electricity portfolio that includes nuclear energy remains "extremely strong" and several of its key attributes are "of primary importance" for Americans in the way that electricity is produced, the research finds.

The survey, carried out in March by Bisconti Research Inc, found that 31% of the 1000 US adults surveyed 'strongly favour' the use of nuclear energy, compared with 18% that 'strongly oppose' it. Overall just over a third of those surveyed said they oppose nuclear power.

"Three quarters of those polled feel nuclear energy will be 'important' in meeting US electricity needs in the years ahead"

Also, three quarters of those polled feel nuclear energy will be 'important' in meeting US electricity needs in the years ahead, and 33% feel it is 'very important.' Just to 9% of those surveyed feel nuclear energy won't be important at all.

In evaluating factors of 'top importance' relative to electricity production, Americans give priority consideration to reliability (83%), clean-air effectiveness (80%), affordability (77%) and efficiency (76%).

The research also found that an increasing number of Americans (78%) believe that, as countries around the world build new nuclear plants, "it is important for the US nuclear industry to continue to play a leading role in world markets."

This marked "a notable increase" from the September 2013 survey when the figure was 75%, a statement said. However in a memo Bisconti Research notes that public support for US nuclear industry leadership in world markets "may not translate to reality without supportive government policies." This echoes findings from a report last year, which found US firms at serious disadvantage to compete in the global nuclear energy market.

Bisconti Research Inc conducted the US survey of public opinion with Quest Global Research from 6-21 March 2014. A nationally representative sample of 1000 US adults was interviewed by landline and cell phone. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points. Full results are available on the Nuclear Energy Institute website.

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