Nuclear support in U.S. remains high, survey says

Despite the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, support for nuclear power in the U.S. remains high.

In a survey carried out by Bisconti Research in conjunction with GfK Roper on behalf of the Nuclear Energy Institute, 62 percent of participants favored the use of nuclear energy in the U.S., compared to 71 percent who supported it a month before the March accident. In the same February survey, 26 percent said they opposed U.S. nuclear energy compared to 35 percent currently.

The same number of respondents, 67 percent, rate U.S. nuclear safety as high now as they did in February, but a majority, 82 percent, said that the U.S. should use lessons learned from Japan and implement new safety measures in the short and long term.

Survey results show that 67 percent of respondents said they would be OK with the construction of a new reactor at their nearest operating nuclear power plant site, while 28 percent said they would be against it. This compares to 76 percent for and 20 percent against in February. Future plans for U.S. nuclear should be made, with 59 percent of responders saying new nuclear should definitely be built.

Along those same lines, 85 percent of respondents said plants that continue to meet federal safety standards should have their licenses renewed, while 75 percent believe utilities should prepare now so that new reactors could be built if needed in the next decade.

On the issue of used fuel, 66 percent of those questioned believe it can be stored safely on-site at nuclear power plants, but 80 percent said they would like to see used fuel stored at a secure storage facility away from sites until a permanent disposal facility is ready.

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