Strong support still for new nuclear plants

30 October 2001

A record number of Americans favour the use of nuclear energy, according to a survey carried on behalf of the Nuclear Energy Institute.

A poll of 1000 adults conducted one month after the September 11 terrorist attacks found that 65% support the use of nuclear power, and 66% believe it to be a safe. The figures are higher than in 2000, and considerably higher than at any other time since the questions were first asked in the early 1980s.

Support for building more nuclear plants in the future was at 59%. This figure is lower than in March this year (66%), during the peak of public concerns over energy supply, but was still 17% higher than in October 1999.

66% said that adding a nuclear plant at the nearest existing site would be acceptable, about the same number as in July and March of this year. This figure includes 69% of those who said that there is a nuclear plant in their state, or that their electric company operates a nuclear plant.

Most Americans (84%) support licence renewal for nuclear plants that meet federal safety standards, and 72% agree with keeping open the option to build more nuclear plants in the future.

The survey demonstrated the benefits of visitor centres, with the strongest support coming from those who have visited a nuclear plant or energy information centre: 74% believe the plants to be safe, 79% favour nuclear energy, 90% agree with licence renewal, 75% agree with building new plants, and 805 say plants are acceptable at nearest existing sites.

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