|Recent CSI Headline|
Over Half of U.S. Adults Now Back Moratorium on New Reactors … Three Out Four Oppose More Taxpayer-Backed Federal Loan Guarantees, Favor Increasing Emphasis on Renewables, Would Make Companies Liable for Fukushima-Style Disaster Clean Up Costs.
WASHINGTON, D.C.///March 22, 2011///While a drop in public support for nuclear power would be expected after an incident like the Fukushima reactor crisis, the nuclear disaster in Japan has triggered a much stronger response among Americans, a majority of whom would freeze new nuclear power construction, stop additional federal loan guarantees for reactors, shift away from nuclear power to wind and solar power, and eliminate the indemnification of the nuclear power industry from most post-disaster clean up costs, according to a major new survey conducted by ORC International for the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI).
Beyond major nuclear power policy questions, the survey also found a majority of Americans living near nuclear power plants ill equipped to deal with a major disaster. According to the survey, over half (52 percent) of Americans living within 50 miles of a nuclear reactor do not know "what to do in the event of nuclear reactor emergency," such as "the evacuation route and what other steps to take." The poll indicates that nearly one in four (24 percent) of Americans say they live within 50 miles of a nuclear power reactor.
Conducted March 15-16, 2011, the national opinion survey of 814 Americans also found that:
Pam Solo, founder and president, Civil Society Institute, said: "The American 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. When Japan -- the nation that President Obama held up as an example of safe nuclear power being used on a large-scale basis -- is unable to effectively control its considerable downside, Americans are understandably leery about the same technology being used even more extensively in this nation. And safety concerns about the existing nuclear plants also deserve serious attention. The Japanese crisis is an opportunity for America to make smarter choices about energy and that process should start with a recognition that the problems with nuclear power cannot simply be ignored in the wake of the tragedy at Fukushima."
Graham Hueber, senior researcher, ORC International, said: "The survey findings suggest that Americans would like to see the brakes applied to more nuclear power. This goes beyond the simple gut-level question of whether nuclear power is supported or opposed. When Americans are asked about their views on specific policy questions that go to the future of nuclear power, there is majority support across the board on every question for moving away from greater reliance on this power source."
Grant Smith, senior advisor, Civil Society Institute, and executive director, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, said: "The United States is at a real crossroads today. While the electric power industry remains obsessed with such dirty and needlessly expensive 19th and 20th century 'business as usual' solutions as coal-fired and nuclear power, there is an opportunity today to make the transition without multi-billion dollar gambles on unproven carbon capture and sequestration technology and risky nuclear loan-guarantee bailouts. In the wake of the Japan reactor crisis, there is a new opportunity here to embrace the clean energy future that is within our grasp."
The 100-percent independent CSI think tank receives no direct or indirect support of any kind from any nuclear industry interest, or any other energy-related company, organization or related individual.
OTHER KEY SURVEY FINDINGS
These findings are based on a telephone survey conducted by ORC International among a national probability sample of 814 adults comprising 404 men and 410 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 March 15-16, 2011. Completed interviews are weighted by five variables: age, sex, geographic region, race, and education to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total population, 18 years of age and older.
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 nearly 30 major national and state-level surveys on a range of issues including climate change, coal, nuclear, global warming, wind and other renewable energy, vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, consumer demand for hybrids/other highly-fuel efficient vehicles, and gas prices. In addition to being a co-convener of CLEAN (www.TheClean.org), CSI also is the parent organization of 40MPG.org (http://www.40MPG.org) and the Hybrid Owners of America (http://www.HybridOwnersofAmerica.org).
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EDITOR'S NOTE: A streaming audio replay of the related news event will be available on the Web at www.civilsocietyinstitute.org as of 3 p.m. EDT/1900 GMT on March 22, 2011.