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Nuclear Energy Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 02, 2014
Contact: media@nei.org, 202.739.8000 or 703.644.8805 (after hours and weekends)

Americans Want Diversified Electricity Mix, Survey Reveals

Strong Support Continues for Nuclear Power’s Role in US Energy Portfolio

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Americans’ support for a diversified electricity portfolio that includes nuclear energy is extremely strong, a new public opinion survey for the Nuclear Energy Institute shows. Several of nuclear energy’s key attributes—including reliability and clean-air effectiveness—are of primary importance for Americans in the way that electricity is produced.

The survey shows that a near-consensus 94 percent of Americans believe it is “important to maintain a diversity of energy sources to supply our nation’s electricity;” 75 percent believe it is very important to do so.

“Americans approach electricity from a very practical standpoint, and energy diversity equates with energy reliability,” said Ann Bisconti, president of Bisconti Research Inc. Her firm conducted the national survey of public opinion with Quest Global Research from March 6-21.

“Americans know they depend on electricity, and they want to be sure it’s always available at affordable prices, the cleaner the better,” Bisconti said.

An increasing number of Americans (78 percent) believe that, as countries around the world build new nuclear plants, “it is important for the U.S. nuclear industry to continue to play a leading role in world markets.”

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed feel nuclear energy will be important in meeting U.S. electricity needs in the years ahead. Thirty-three percent feel nuclear energy will be very important, compared to 9 percent who feel nuclear energy won’t be important at all.

In evaluating factors relative to electricity production, Americans give priority consideration to reliability, clean-air effectiveness, affordability and efficiency, respectively. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed identify reliability as a consideration of “top importance.” Eighty percent say clean air has top importance; 77 percent say affordability has top importance; and 76 percent assign efficiency top importance.

A sizable majority of Americans—63 percent—favor the use of nuclear energy as one of the ways to provide electricity in the United States; 34 percent oppose. This is a decrease of 6 percentage points from the favorability level found by Bisconti Research last September. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed strongly favor the use of nuclear energy, while 18 percent strongly oppose nuclear energy’s use.

A notable increase from last September’s survey came relative to global nuclear growth. In addition to the five reactors being built in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, another 67 reactors are under construction in 14 countries. Seventy-eight percent of Americans (versus 75 percent last September) believe that as new reactors are built, it is important that the U.S. nuclear energy industry continues to play a leading role in world markets.

Seventy percent of those surveyed agree that nuclear energy facilities operating in the United States are safe and secure. Sixty-five percent agree that “nuclear power plants in this area are built to withstand the most extreme natural events, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, that may occur here.”

A nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults was interviewed by landline and cell phone. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Nuclear energy facilities operating in 31 states produce electricity for one of every five U.S. homes and businesses. Their reliability is evidenced by the industry’s decade-long trend of industry-leading average capacity factor of 90 percent. Capacity factor is a measure of plant efficiency. Nuclear energy produces more than 60 percent of the electricity generated by carbon-free sources in the United States.