New Survey Shows Strong Support for Nuclear Energy

Americans want clean, affordable, domestically produced energy; 76% think more needs to be done to ensure future electricity supply
News Release:May 2, 2006 (11:00 am)

Washington, DC –

The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition today released a new national public opinion poll that shows strong support among Americans for nuclear energy and reveals a dearth of knowledge among many that currently shapes opinion. The poll conducted April 3-5, 2006, by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, among 810 registered voters has a ±3.44 margin of error.

“I am convinced that as people learn more about nuclear energy, they will come to share my certainty that increasing America’s supply of nuclear energy makes sense from an environmental and an economic standpoint,” said CASEnergy Co-Chair and former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman.

“There is a need for education to inform people that nuclear energy enhances security and, as the only major electricity source that does not emit greenhouse gases, protects the environment,” said Dr. Patrick Moore, CASEnergy co-chair and co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace. “That’s why the CASEnergy Coalition was founded.”

The new polling data reveals several key findings.

Americans see a clear need for electricity production solutions that focus on affordability, energy independence and protecting the environment. According to the poll, seventy-six percent of Americans do not believe enough is being done to increase affordable electricity supplies for the future (See Chart 1). In addition, sixty-nine percent do not believe enough is being done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution associated with electricity production Nuclear energy is well positioned to help meet that need.

“The survey shows that when given the facts that nuclear power is a clean, affordable and domestically produced energy source, support grows substantially,” said David Ginsberg, Director of Political Operations for Penn, Schoen, and Berland. “With just a little bit of new information, people become extremely favorable to using nuclear energy and believe it should play a much larger role in our nation’s electricity grid.”

At the beginning of the survey, nuclear energy has a solid 59-35 favorability rating – second strongest among major sources of electricity.

After just a brief amount of education, nuclear energy’s favorability rating increased, with 73 percent of respondents very favorable or somewhat favorable to it (See Chart 2). Furthermore, upon hearing simple facts, nearly half (48 percent) of respondents said that United States should rely heavily on nuclear energy, giving it either a seven, eight or nine on a nine-point scale when asked to rate how much the country should rely on nuclear energy as a source of electricity.

Nuclear energy’s attributes – protecting the environment and enhancing America’s energy security – address people’s concerns about electricity production in the future. Support for nuclear energy grew 40 percent after people learned that nuclear plants emit zero greenhouse gases or controlled air pollutants.

“These findings clearly indicate there is a need to educate and raise awareness about nuclear energy as a clean, safe, affordable and reliable supply of electricity for America,” said Whitman. “The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition is committed to fulfilling that mission.”

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