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NEI Comissioned Survey Finds Strong Local Support for New Watts Bar Reactor

From an NEI press release:
More than 80 percent of Tennesseans living within 10 miles of the Watts Bar nuclear power plant would accept construction of a new reactor at the plant site or completion of the Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor, according to a public opinion survey conducted in July for the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The telephone survey of 300 randomly selected adults found that 88 percent of respondents would agree with a decision by the Tennessee Valley Authority to complete the Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor on which construction was halted in 1985. Sixty-eight percent “strongly agreed” and 20 percent “somewhat agreed,” while only 11 percent disagreed.

Eighty-three percent of plant neighbors said that, if a new power plant were needed to supply electricity, they would accept a decision to add a new reactor “at the site of the nearest nuclear power plant.” Only 14 percent of respondents said construction of a new reactor at the nearest plant site would not be acceptable.

The survey was conducted by Bisconti Research Inc. of Washington, D.C., with Quest Research Group. It has a margin of error of plus or minus six percentage points. Employees of TVA and their families were excluded from the survey.

Eighty-six percent of respondents (62 percent of them strongly) said they favor the use of nuclear energy as one of the ways to provide electricity in the United States. Only 13 percent opposed the use of nuclear energy.

One hundred and four nuclear plants operating in 31 states provide electricity to one of every five homes and businesses. Three TVA reactors in Tennessee, each with a generating capacity of more than 1,100 megawatts, provide 26 percent of the electricity produced in the state.

Ninety-two percent of Watts Bar neighbors said their “general impression of this plant and the way it has operated recently” is favorable. Sixty-five percent of respondents voiced a “very favorable” impression and 27 percent “somewhat favorable,” with only five percent of respondents voicing an unfavorable impression.

Ninety percent of the Tennesseans surveyed rated the power plant’s safety as high, with only four percent assigning a low safety rating. Eighty-one percent said they feel well informed about the nearest nuclear plant, with 19 percent saying they do not feel well informed.
For more opinion data on public acceptance of nuclear energy, see the NEI publication, Perspective on Public Opinion.

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