New poll shows declining support for nuclear power in light of Japan crisis

Reuters is reporting the results of a poll conducted March 15 and 16:

A majority of Americans want the United States to tap the brakes on new nuclear power reactors following the crisis in Japan that has focused more attention on the already controversial power source, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

The survey of 814 Americans found 53 percent would support a moratorium on new nuclear reactor construction if the country was able to meet its energy demand through increased efficiency and renewable sources such as wind and solar.

Specifically, a majority would support a moratorium on new nukes:

The survey of 814 Americans found 53 percent would support a moratorium on new nuclear reactor construction if the country was able to meet its energy demand through increased efficiency and renewable sources such as wind and solar.

There was overwhelming opposition in the poll results to federal loan guarantees:

Nearly three-quarters of those polled oppose having taxpayers take on the risk for the construction of new reactors through billions of dollars in new federal loan guarantees. Instead, most support shifting those dollars to wind and solar power.

The Price-Anderson Act, which limits liability for nuclear accidents, was also unpopular in the poll:

The poll from the Civil Society Institute also found most Americans would embrace a move by Congress to consider repealing a 1957 law indemnifying nuclear power companies from most disaster cleanup costs. Instead, Americans would hold the companies “liable for all damages resulting from a nuclear meltdown or other accident.”

And the poll indicated that most Americans living near nuclear power plants did not know what to do in case of a major accident:

The study found a majority of Americans living near nuclear plants are not prepared in the event of a major disaster. According to the survey, 52 percent of those living within 50 miles … of a nuclear reactor are unsure of emergency preparedness steps such as the proper evacuation route.

Link: http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFN2216546620110322?sp=true

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About Robert Singleton

By day, I work for a call center. In my spare time, I try to save my hometown (and planet) from a nearly constant onslaught of greedheads, lunatics and land developers. I live in a fictional town called Austin, Texas, where I go to way too many meetings.
This entry was posted in Japan, Radiation leak, Reactor problems and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to New poll shows declining support for nuclear power in light of Japan crisis

  1. Jordi says:

    To me, the Price-Anderson act has another name: insurance. In the case of accidents, someone will pay, just not the private companies who built the plant. The government, through its taxpayers, will cover direct costs in this socialized insurance. Uncovered costs for clean up and health effects of course are borne by someone, sometime, somewhere in the form of health bills, moving to a new area, lost productivity and so on.

    • Jordi: The question we have to ask ourselves is whether the taxpayer is going to cover the risk of new nuclear plants. The reason that nuclear plants can’t get private insurance is the unbelievable cost that might accompany a worst-case accident. We have to ask ourselves if the benefits of nuclear power outweigh the risks, and are there less risky alternatives to nuclear power for producing electricity?

  2. Jordi says:

    I agree. But taxpayers are not able to rationally make a choice about covering the full set of risks because the decision to indemnify is separated by time and also by accounting “space.” When the accounting for nuclear plant is done, the insurance costs (via the taxpayer) are several levels removed. I wrote about this a little here: http://spillingink.net

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