WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Awareness of nuclear energy's leading role in preventing greenhouse gas emissions in the electric sector solidifies the conviction among an overwhelming majority of Americans that the technology is important to the nation's energy and environmental future, a new national survey shows.
Eighty-four percent of Americans—once informed that nuclear energy produces nearly two-thirds of the nation's low-carbon electricity—agree that nuclear energy "should be important in the future," according to the telephone survey of 1,000 adults. Fifty percent say it should be "very important."
"The impact of knowing the facts about nuclear energy's clean air role is eye-opening," said Ann Bisconti, president of Bisconti Research Inc. "Once they are made aware of the magnitude of nuclear energy's impact in the low-carbon electricity mix, Americans' belief in nuclear energy's future value is almost universal and crosses gender and political party."
At least 80 percent of all demographic groups said that nuclear energy should be important in the future, Bisconti said.
Similarly reflecting the value Americans affix to the environment, 83 percent of those surveyed say "we should take advantage of all low-carbon energy sources, including nuclear, hydro and renewable energy, to produce the electricity we need while limiting greenhouse gas emissions."
Nuclear energy facilities operating in 30 states produce electricity for one of every five U.S. homes and businesses.
Even when nuclear energy's clean air value is not detailed, a large majority of Americans favors its use, the survey shows. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they favor nuclear energy, including 26 percent who "strongly favor" nuclear energy's use. That is down slightly from the 68 percent favoring nuclear energy's use in the national survey that Bisconti Research conducted for the Nuclear Energy Institute last spring.
"In 1983, when the NEI public opinion tracking program began, the public was much more divided, with half favoring and half opposing the use of nuclear energy. Favorability to nuclear energy has remained in the mid- to upper-60s for most of the past decade," Bisconti said.
Bisconti Research conducted this survey with Quest Global Research from Aug. 30 to Sept. 16. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.
Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed agree with the concept of the Export-Import Bank, the federal lending institution that since 1934 provided loans for international projects to help U.S. companies compete in world markets. The bank's charter lapsed on June 30 when Congress refused to reauthorize it. Reauthorization remains a possibility and is one of the nuclear energy industry's top policy priorities to foster U.S. participation in the dynamic international market for commercial nuclear energy technology and services.
The survey also found (before information was given about the magnitude of nuclear energy's role in the carbon-free energy mix):
- 82 percent agree that federal regulators should renew the operating licenses of nuclear power plants that continue to meet federal safety standards; 46 percent strongly agree.
- 70 percent agree that electric companies should prepare now so that new nuclear power plants could be built if needed in the next decade.
- 56 percent agree electric companies should definitely build more nuclear energy facilities in the future.
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry's policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available at www.nei.org.
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Source:Nuclear Energy Institute