Nearly seven of 10 Americans favor nuclear energy and 68 percent support building a new reactor at the existing nuclear power plant closest to where they live, according to a recent public opinion poll conducted for the Nuclear Energy Institute.
Regionally, 70 percent of respondents in the Northeast and Midwest favor the use of nuclear energy, 67 percent in the South and 66 percent in the West. Favorability among Northeast residents has increased 12 percentage points since March of this year.
The nationwide survey showed that 81 percent of those polled believe that nuclear energy will play an important role in meeting U.S. future electricity needs, and 76 percent agree that U.S. utilities should prepare now so new nuclear plants could be built if needed in the next decade. Sixty-three percent say electric companies should “definitely” build new nuclear power plants in the future.
The survey was conducted Sept. 7-10 by Bisconti Research Inc., with GfK NOP, through telephone interviews with nationally representative samples of 1,000 U.S. adults age 18 or older. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points. Bisconti Research has been surveying public attitudes about nuclear energy for 23 years.
The survey also queried respondents on various attributes related to electricity production and found that Americans place the highest value on clean air, affordability and reliability. By a significant margin, the results showed that most Americans associate nuclear energy to some degree with these considerations. For example, 77 percent of those polled associate nuclear energy “a lot” or “a little” with clean air. Eighty-one percent associate nuclear energy with reliability; 71 percent with affordable electricity costs.