Monday, August 20, 2007

Nuclear Power Plant Neighbors Accept Potential for New Reactor Nearby by Margin of Nearly 3 to 1

More ammunition to fight the folks who say NIMBY. From the NEI newsroom:

Eighty-two percent of Americans living in close proximity to nuclear power plants favor nuclear energy, and 71 percent are willing to see a new reactor built near them, according to a new public opinion survey of more than 1,100 adults across the United States.

Only residents within 10 miles of an operating nuclear power plant – electric company employees excluded – were questioned. The survey also found that 86 percent give the nearest nuclear power plant a “high” safety rating, and that 87 percent are confident that the company operating the power plant can do so safely.

The telephone survey of 1,152 randomly selected plant neighbors—18 adults within 10 miles of each of the nation’s 64 nuclear power plant sites – was conducted in July and August by Bisconti Research Inc. with Quest Global Research Group. The survey, with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, was commissioned by the Nuclear Energy Institute. The survey marked the second time – the first being August 2005 – that nuclear power plant neighbors have been surveyed nationally for their attitudes about nuclear energy.

“This survey and the one in 2005 show that, in general, NIMBY (not in my back yard) does not apply at existing plant sites because close neighbors have a positive view of nuclear energy, are familiar with the plant, and believe that the plant benefits the community,” said Ann Bisconti, president of Bisconti Research.
Click here (PDF) to read the full report.

15 comments:

gunter said...

Another one of Ms. Bisconti's polls and being a former VP in communications with NEI it is no wonder what her bias as well as the results would be.

ABC News and Washington Post did a poll in June 2005 that said that 64% of Americans are not in favor of new reactor construction.

What has happened that would dramatically shift American opinion to suddenly heavily support nuclear power? If anything, that fact that the Yucca Mt. nuke dump is further delayed and costing more money and still slipping away from ever opening would shift opinion towards even stronger opposition.

KenG said...

Why would this indicate a shift in opinion? Two years ago a random group of Americans who may or may not know anything about nuclear power were 64% not in favor of nuclear power. (Was that really "not in favor" or was that "not in favor or don't have an opinion"?)

Today, most of those living near a nuclear plant (who know something about it and have lived near the plant for perhaps 30 years) are strongly in favor of building new plants.

Seems perfectly consistent to me. It points out that nuclear is uniquely "reverse NIMBY".

Brian said...

Hmm ... the summer of 2005, wasn't that about the time that ABC was researching its silly hit piece on security at university research reactors? Wow, gunter, and you consider ABC News to be an unbiased source? Ha!! Too funny.

gunter asked, "What has happened that would dramatically shift American opinion to suddenly heavily support nuclear power?"

Um ... could it be a little movie that came out last year staring a former VP of the US?

Get real. 2005 was a long time ago in terms of public opinion.

JimHopf said...

Global warming, yes, but also the large rise in gasoline and electricity prices that have recently occurred. People become much more supportive of energy supply options when their pocketbook is being noticeably affected.

Actually, it's not unreasonable to want there to be a demonstrable need for new plants before supporting their construction. If nothing else, they do cost a signiifcant amount of money. Back when energy was cheap and seemed plentiful (the 1990s), it was hard to demonstrate a real need.

People need a tangible signal, like high prices, to convinve them that there is a real need. They need something that has a tangible effect on their lives to inspire them to support most supply options. The one thing the public can be accused of is lack of foresight, i.e., the ability to commit to action on a problem BEFORE it has a tangible negative effect on people's lives. Oh well...

gunter said...

Brian,

Anybody who considers Bisconti to be an unbiased poll already works for the nuclear industry.

This is a self serving promotion like the tobacco industry doing a poll on cigarette smoking and finding the public's enjoyment outweighs its concerns over the societal medical liability.

Anonymous said...

What has happened to dramatically shift American opinion to suddenly support nuclear power? The answer is simply the passage of time. To many Americans, the teething pains experienced by industry - as minor as they were - are a distant memory. TMI was nearly thirty years ago. In the meantime, several things stayed the same. The American nuclear power industry has maintained its superlative capacity factor and operational safety metrics. The coal-fired industry kept on choking us with its fumes. And wind and solar power proved to be nothing more than talk; Ralph Nader's pronouncements on solar power are quite silly now to the average American.

gunter said...

Anonymous' reference to an industry's "teething" pains is more accurately an industry that has grown long in the tooth and still not solved its original problems including cost, safety and nuclear waste. Aging nuclear power plants are not safer they are more risky as profit and production margins trump safety and securtiy margins. More nuclear waste without a place to go is piling up on site in high density storage racks in vulnerable pools and in dry casks lined up like so many bowling pins on a tarmack. The cost of nuclear power remains so high that it requires massive government subsidizes to even contemplate.

None of this went into consideration of Bisconti's biased polling information.

Anonymous said...

Nice try, Gunter, but the empirical evidence doesn't support your claim that the plants are aging at an unexpected or inordinate pace. There is no evidence that the fleet is aging at all. If and when the (current) nuclear fleet starts to age, perhaps several decades from now, we'll see it first as a decrease in capacity factor, which is a precise and easily observed metric.

More tripe about the tiny and easily managed flecks of nuclear "waste" (i.e. spent fuel) produced by commercial nuclear power. Yawn. There must be a dozen other industries churning out volumes of waste that dwarf that of the nuclear power industry.

Every day that goes by is a day you are wrong, Gunter. The nuclear power industry keeps humming along, with its superlative safety and performance records, paying plenty of taxes, and all the while setting aside a small amount to make sure its wastes are contained indefinitely and securely.

Many people are noticing this. In time, you and your poorly constructed rants will be forgotten. How bitter this will taste!

Brian said...

Mr. Gunter,

Did I say anything about the Bisconti poll? No. Not yet.

But since you bring up the topic -- to divert from your own comments about a poll from a questionable source -- I would like to point out one thing (perhaps you missed it?): the part of the story above that says, "The survey ... was commissioned by the Nuclear Energy Institute."

You can dismiss the results of this poll if you want, but at least it is completely transparent. We do not need the likes of you to point out the obvious.

If only you and your organization were as transparent. Tell me, Mr. Gunter, where does 2/3 of NIRS/WISE's funding come from. Please tell me who commissions your work and pays your salary?

I'll tell you who is "long in the tooth" and who is "aging" these days: it's old fossils like you and those who are foolish enough to buy your tired rhetoric. I'm not an aging hippie. I'm part of Generation-X, and I grew up listening to the crap that you have dished out over the decades. Guess what? People my age are tired of hearing it. We're tired of the lies, the "factoids," and the predictions of a nuclear disaster, a solar revolution, or a wind-powered utopia that never come to pass. Listening to you is like listening to a preacher talk about the second coming! You're full of fire and brimstone and the wages of sin (or radiation or whatever helps you make your flawed points), but personally, my money is on Jesus getting here first, and I'm not very religious.

No, to tell you the truth, you are part of the reason that we're in the mess that we find ourselves today, with pollution from fossil fuels causing all sorts of health problems and wars being waged to insure a steady supply of these fuels from foreign lands. All of your quibbling over the phantom harm caused to the public by US nuclear power plants (which has never been substantially demonstrated by any credible study) and all of your quibbling over "unplanned and unmonitored releases" accomplishes nothing but to get you your next paycheck.

Congratulations. I hope you spend it on something nice.

Anonymous said...

If cost and subsidies are your metrics, Gunter, then you should really, really, really be against things like solar, wind, and other "renewables". Costs for solar on a per kwhr basis dwarf those of nuclear, and in my state you can get up to a 50% tax credit if you install things like solar in your home. Last I checked, I get no tax credits for installing a nuclear plant. Tens of billions of tax dollars have gone into researching and subsidizing those things and after all that time and money we get, what, something like a half percent of our energy needs from them? If anything qualifies as a "failure" on the basis of cost and subsidies, it is "renewable energy".

gunter said...

Speaking of long in the tooth---
its 40% of the NRC and 35% of the n-industry workers will be of retirement age in the next 4 years.

Its going to be a tug of war between regulatory and industry over the few graduates trickling out of a dwindling number of nuclear engineering programs.

Hard to imagine a renaissance with such an exodus.

David Bradish said...

gunter,

Not so. If you subscribe to the Nuclear News magazine from ANS (pdf), you will read this information in the Education and Training section:

"THE NUMBER OF college students graduating with degrees in nuclear engineering continues to increase according to a survey conducted by the Deparment of Energy s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).

In 2006, 346 bachelor's degrees in nuclear engineering were awarded, the highest number reported in 10 years and an almost 30 percent increase from 2005."

Anonymous said...

That's a neat trick, Gunter. Groups like yours hammer the industry incessantly, driving down student interest, shutting down plants, costing people their jobs so they leave the field. Some of you go after the educational infrastructure itself, shutting down research facilities, using political pressure to cancel research programs, recruiting students to the anti-nuclear cause. Then you turn around and hammer the industry because you think not enough people are entering the field to sustain it. Basically you help cause the problem and then complain about it. Pretty despicable tactics, those.

gunter said...

David and Anon,

Even the increase you cite is not enough to compensate for the industry and regulatory retirement rate and the grandeoise ramping up of reactors as proposed. This of course leads to the major concern on how NRC is pulling staff off safety oversight to work on new licensing. As Neil Young sings, "Rust never sleeps" and the current generation of nukes is not getting any younger as margins of safety grow thinner.

Anon has a pretty active imagination to think n-power's brain drain is the work of the antinuclear movement or you're simply trying to divert attention from the real reasons for the dearth of incoming nuclear engineers, health physicists and other atomic technicians.

The main reason of course is that nuclear power has long been an unpopular and precarious technology teetering on economic collapse. This is primarily what has led to the lack of technical enrollment and the shuttering of programs.

Brian said...

Wow! Gunter earns his paycheck, doesn't he? Even after being shot down on the "few graduates" thing, I have to give him credit for still trying.

His arguments are so reminiscent of the Y2K scare, it's spooky!

"OMG! Where are we going to find all of these old COBOL programmers to fix our legacy codes? Aren't they all retired or *gasp* dead? The world's economy will stop if computers can't distinguish the difference between 2000 and 1900. The world is going to end! Oh ... the humanity!!"

And so ...

Well ... nothing happened.

Nice try, gunter. Payroll has your check. Pick it up on the way out.