Americans’ confidence in nuclear power has declined dramatically, and fewer than half of all Americans now support the construction of new nuclear power plants, according to a new poll by CBS News.
Only 43 percent of all Americans now support the construction of new nuclear power plants. That is 14 percent fewer than two years ago and 26 percent fewer than in 1977, when support for nuclear power peaked. Exactly half of those surveyed oppose new nuclear power plants, an increase of 16 percent compared with 2008, when a similar survey was conducted.
After the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 46 percent of those surveyed supported new nuclear power plants, while only 34 percent – the lowest figure ever, supported the plants after the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
A little over half of the respondents said that the accident in Japan had not made them more fearful of a nuclear accident in America, while 44 percent said they now become more afraid. Over two thirds said that nuclear power is generally safe and nearly half said that the benefits of nuclear power outweigh the risks.
Still, 65 percent answered that they are “somewhat worried” about nuclear plant safety and on a question whether they would oppose a new nuclear power plant near their homes, 62 percent answered “yes “. When asked if they believed that the government was prepared for an accident, only 35 percent said “yes”.
There are currently 104 nuclear power plants in America. The whole 23 of them are of the same type, General Electric Mark 1, as the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.