|4/30/2016 by mdc|
|Familiarity with nuclear energy and its role as a reliable producer of low-carbon electricity increases support for the technology, according to a new national public opinion survey. There is a direct connection between feeling knowledgeable about nuclear energy and favoring it, said Ann Bisconti, of Bisconti Research. Among respondents who feel very well-informed about nuclear energy, 75% are in favor and 54% are strongly favorable. In contrast, only 18% of the self-described very well-informed group strongly opposes it.|
Those who feel very well-informed about a topic are more likely to become activists for nuclear energy, so this divide is significant, Bisconti said. The survey found that only 20% of Americans feel very well-informed about nuclear energy, 42% feel somewhat well-informed. However, after learning that nuclear energy is the only large-scale source of clean air energy, 86% said it should be an important energy source in the future. This includes 59% of respondents who initially said they oppose nuclear energy.
The survey asked about potential solutions for electricity market challenges that have caused the premature shutdown of some nuclear power plants over the past three years and that have more facilities at risk of premature closure. Half of the sample was presented with this exercise. After learning about the challenge, only 12% wanted to shut down the facilities, 88% favor enacting one or more proposed solutions to market imbalances, citing the need to protect jobs and maintain a large-scale source of clean air electricity.
The preferred solutions involved creating the same market incentives for nuclear energy as other zero-carbon energy sources as an alternative to natural gas, Bisconti said. That includes setting the cost of electricity at the lowest level that also preserves nuclear energy and also providing the same financial incentives to nuclear energy as those offered to renewables.
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