FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Americans Wary of Nuclear Power

Those who advocate nuclear power as a solution to America's future energy challenges have an uphill battle convincing the public. When asked about the feasibility of various alternative energy sources, a majority of Americans displayed deep skepticism about the use of nuclear power, believing that conservation and other alternative sources were better near-term solutions.

Concerns about nuclear power centered on cost and time rather than safety. The survey, conducted by the nonpartisan Civil Society Institute, found that 61% of those surveyed believed that America couldn't afford to wait for nuclear power if "building more nuclear power plants will take a decade or more in the US and cost tens of billions of dollars." The responses remained consistent across the political spectrum, with both conservatives and liberals in remarkable agreement.

The respondents overwhelmingly agreed (88%) that conservation should be the first step toward reducing energy dependence and emissions, followed by harnessing wind and solar power. Even if building new nuclear power plants was considered an option, most respondents said, "Not in my backyard!" Of those surveyed, 81% said the did not want "to have a nuclear power plant reactor constructed next to or otherwise close" to their home.