Checking in at the grassroots: NEI goes public

The Nuclear Energy Institute conducted a survey one month after the terrorist attack on the WTC and the Pentagon to gauge the public’s opinion about nuclear energy. According to the survey of 1,000 adults, 65 percent favored the use of nuclear energy and 66 percent considered nuclear power plants safe. NEI stated that these percentages are higher than the year before-even with this year’s terrorist actions-and they are “considerably higher” than surveys conducted in the 1980s. Those opposed to nuclear energy now number less than 30 percent for the first time since 1983.

“We found higher support for nuclear power than ever during this survey,” stated Doug Walters, senior project manager with NEI.

NEI specifically asked: Do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the use of nuclear energy as one of the ways to provide electricity in the United States? In the October 2001 survey, 28 percent strongly favored nuclear energy, 37 percent somewhat favored it, 15 percent somewhat opposed it and 14 percent strongly opposed it. In November 2000, 26 percent strongly favored nuclear energy, 32 percent somewhat favored it and 36 percent opposed.

However, the percentage of adults who believe that more nuclear power plants should be built stands at 59 percent, down from the 66 percent of March 2001.

The survey, conducted by Bisconti Research Inc., also found that 84 percent continued to support license renewal for nuclear power plants and 72 percent agree with keeping the option open to build more nuclear plants in the future.

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