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SURVEY: AMERICANS NOT WARMING UP TO NUCLEAR POWER ONE YEAR AFTER FUKUSHIMA
Contrary to Industry Predictions, Reactor Disaster Seen As Having a "Lasting Chill" on Perceptions; It's Not All Fukushima: 3 in 5 Americans Less Supportive Due to Woes of U.S. Nuclear Industry in Last Year.
WASHINGTON, D.C.///March 7, 2012///One year after the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, Americans continue to want to keep the brakes on more nuclear power in the United States, according to a major new ORC International survey conducted for the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI).
To gauge any shift in public attitudes, the new survey was benchmarked to an earlier poll carried out by ORC International in March 2011 for CSI. Conducted February 23-26 2012, the new survey of 1,032 Americans shows that:
Pam Solo, founder and president, Civil Society Institute, said: "It is clear that Fukushima left an indelible impression on the thinking of Americans about nuclear power. The U.S. public clearly favors a conservative approach to energy that insists on it being safe in all senses of the word - including the risk to local communities and citizens. These poll findings support the need for a renewed national debate about the energy choices that America makes."
Peter Bradford, former member of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, former chair of the New York and Maine utility regulatory commissions, and currently adjunct professor at Vermont Law School on "Nuclear Power and Public Policy, said: "This survey is another piece of bad news for new nuclear construction in the U.S. For an industry completely dependent on political support in order to gain access to the taxpayers' wallets (through loan guarantees and other federal subsidies) and the consumers' wallets (through rate guarantees to cover even canceled plants and cost overruns), public skepticism of this magnitude is a near fatal flaw. The nuclear industry has spent millions on polls telling the public how much the public longs for nuclear power. Such polls never ask real world questions linking new reactors to rate increases or to accident risk. Fukushima has made the links to risk much clearer in the public mind. This poll makes the consequences of that linkage clear."
Pollster Graham Hueber, senior researcher, ORC International, said: "I would summarize these findings as follows: We see here a lasting chill in how the public perceives nuclear power. The passage of one year since the Fukushima nuclear reactor crisis in Japan has neither dimmed concerns in the U.S. about nuclear power nor has it made Americans more inclined to support an expanded federal focus on promoting more nuclear reactors in the U.S."
Robert Alvarez, senior scholar, Institute for Policy Studies, where he is currently focused on nuclear disarmament and environmental and energy policies, and former senior policy advisor, U.S. Secretary of Energy, where he coordinated the effort to enact nuclear worker compensation legislation, said: "Nuclear power remains expensive, dangerous, and too radioactive for Wall Street. 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."
OTHER KEY SURVEY FINDINGS
For the full survey findings, go to http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org on the Web.
These findings are based on a telephone survey conducted by ORC International among a national probability sample of 1,032 adults comprising 518 men and 514 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was completed during the period February 23-26, 2012. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage at the full sample size.
ABOUT CIVIL SOCIETY INSTITUTE
Based in Newton, MA., the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org) is a think tank that serves as a catalyst for change by creating problem-solving interactions among people, and between communities, government and business that can help to improve society. Since 2003, CSI has conducted more than 25 major national and state-level surveys and reports on energy and auto issues, including vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, consumer demand for hybrids/other highly-fuel efficient vehicles, global warming and renewable energy. In addition to being a co-convener of TheCLEAN.org (http://www.TheClean.org), the Civil Society Institute also is the parent organization of the Hybrid Owners of America (http://www.HybridOwnersofAmerica.org).
CONTACT: Ailis Aaron Wolf, for CSI, (703) 276-3265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A streaming audio replay of this news event will be available on the Web at www.civilsocietyinstitute.org as of 3 p.m. EST/2000 GMT on March 7, 2012.