Support is growing for U.S. nuclear power post-Fukushima, survey says

Support for nuclear power in the U.S. has increased to 64 percent from 62 percent, but still remains lower than pre-Fukushima levels, according to a poll from Bisconti Research in conjunction with GfK Roper on behalf of the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The recent poll also showed 33 percent now oppose nuclear in the U.S., compared to 35 percent in September 2011.

By comparison, a similar survey in February 2011, a month before the accident, showed that 71 percent favored nuclear.

About 81 percent of respondents believe that nuclear energy will be important in meeting the U.S.’s future electricity demands, a slight increase from 80 percent in September. Additionally, 82 percent thought the U.S. should “take advantage of all low-carbon energy sources, including nuclear, hydro and renewable energy,” and the same proportion believes the operating licenses of plants that continue to meet federal safety standards should be renewed.

Two-thirds, or 65 percent, of those questioned said they were OK with the construction of a new reactor at the nearest existing nuclear plant, and 58 percent of respondents think that the nation should build more nuclear plants in the future.

The survey also found that 76 percent of respondents would like to see nuclear waste and by-products stored at one or two storage facilities at volunteer host sites. In addition, 80 percent of participants support the federal government developing a final disposal facility for used nuclear fuel as long as it meets U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements.

The public’s view of nuclear plant safety in the U.S. remains high, with almost three-quarters of respondents saying they believe nuclear plants in the U.S. are safe and secure.  However, 82 percent of people believe the U.S. should use lessons learned from Fukushima and continue to develop advanced nuclear power plants to meet the country’s growing demand.

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