Even though nuclear energy is by far the largest clean-air energy source used to generate electricity, fewer than half of Americans strongly associate nuclear energy with clean air, according to a new national survey of 1,000 adults.Sounds like we have some more work to do...
The survey shows that only 42 percent of Americans associate nuclear energy “a lot” with clean air. This is the case even though nuclear power plants provide 71 percent of all U.S. electricity that comes from sources that do not emit greenhouse gases or any of the pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The other clean-air energy sources for electricity are hydroelectric power plants (25 percent), wind power projects (2.3 percent), geothermal projects (1.3 percent) and solar power (one-tenth of one percent).
More than 100 nuclear power plants operating in 31 states provide electricity to one of every five U.S. homes and businesses.
The new telephone survey was conducted March 30-April 1 by Bisconti Research Inc. with GfK and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. In similar surveys of adults conducted by the same research firms for the Nuclear Energy Institute in May 2005 and March 2006, 55 percent of Americans in both instances strongly associated nuclear energy with clean air.
The new survey also shows that while 57 percent of Americans “have heard or read about” the need for nuclear energy within the past year, only 46 percent have heard or read about the clean-air benefits of nuclear energy. Thirty-nine percent have heard or read about the use of nuclear energy “as a way to fight global warming and climate change.”