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New nationwide poll shows wariness about nuclear power

Published March 7, 2012 11:28 pm

Reactor accident in Japan has dampened public support.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Americans haven't warmed to nuclear energy in the year since the Fukushima meltdowns, according to a new survey.

The poll, done by ORC International for the nonprofit, nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI), found that 57 percent support nuclear power less than they did before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that resulted in the crisis at the Japanese nuclear complex.

In addition, 77 percent said they back "using clean renewable energy resources — such as wind and solar — and increased energy efficiency as an alternative to more nuclear power in the United States." And an equal percentage said they wanted to see federal loan guarantees shifted from nuclear to wind and solar power.

ORC surveyed 1,032 Americans February 23-26. It compared the results with similar polls a year ago and added a question about public reactions to nuclear incidents in the United States over the past year. Its findings run counter to similar polls that have been published by the nuclear industry.

Robert Alvarez, a former senior adviser to the U.S. Energy Secretary who advocated for nuclear worker compensation, said the poll results pointed to a continuing trend of wariness about nuclear energy.

"This survey shows why the industry has no future unless the U.S. government props it up and forces the public to bear the risks,"he said.

Utah does not have a nuclear power plant, but a Provo-based company is taking steps to apply for a reactor site permit from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission next year. The 3,000-megawatt plant is being proposed for a location near the intersection of Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 6 in Emery County by Blue Castle LLC.

The full survey results can be seen at: CivilSocietyInstitute.org.