March 22, 2011
As you might expect, the first Gallup/USA Today surveys have found that in the wake of the Fukushima situation a plurality of Americans now oppose the construction of new nuclear reactors.
â€¨Support dropped 18 points to 44 percent in favor, 47 percent opposed in a survey taken last week. Before the accident, support for nuclear had risen to 62 percent, the highest point in history. Overall favorable views toward nuclear had been above 50 percent for a decade, following the long slump after Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.â€¨
â€¨“In its analysis, Gallup said that short-term worries over nuclear disasters may not affect Americans’ support for nuclear energy over the long term,” reports Martin LaMonica on CNET’s “Green Tech” blog. “Still, a look at the media coverage and discussion during the crisis shows that the incidents have served as an unhappy reminder of the risks of nuclear energy.”
â€¨ â€¨LaMonica gives a balanced view of what a reduction in nuclear output would mean. He notes that carbon emissions would surely rise and that natural gas would be the likely substitute since wind and solar are incapable of delivering base load power. The most likely outcome, he predicts, will be a thorough review of America’s nuclear effort and upgrades in safety. During the process, public confidence may come back. “Without a doubt, this incident will have a significant impact on nuclear regulators and, most likely, plant operators,” he concludes. “Now, we’ll see how attitudes change toward nuclear over time and whether people will maintain attention on the pros and cons of different energy sources.”
Read more about it at CNET