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Poll Respondents are Randomly Selected, New Nuclear Plant Sites Are Not

Earlier this evening Nuclear News Flashes from Platts moved a news item that didn't gibe with a lot of what I've read about public opinion and new nuclear plant construction:
--A NEW POLL FOUND 65% OF RESPONDENTS WOULD OPPOSE A NEW NUCLEAR PLANT in their community. The results of the survey of 1,000 randomly selected respondents in the US were released October 10 by the Saint Consulting Group. The survey was conducted by the Logit Group in early August. The poll found that 58% of respondents would oppose an oil, coal, or natural gas plant. The poll found 76% would support a wind plant, while 53% would support a hydro plant and 50% would support a biofuels plant. "Support and opposition to all types of power plants tracks fairly consistently across all geographic regions of the US, with the Midwest the most receptive region to new power plant construction," the
Saint Consulting Group said. The survey has a margin of error of 3.1%.
After a blizzard of evening email traffic, I was able to get hold of Ann Bisconti of Bisconti Research. She's responsible for conducting the public opinion polling that you'll find summarized in the NEI publication, Perspective on Public Opinion.

Ann told me that the companies involved, Saint Consulting Group and the Logit Group, are reputable firms, however ...
The flaw in the research is asking the national public if they would support or oppose a nuclear power plant in their community. Nuclear power plants will be built in communities that are suitable for such facilities and where the public wants them.
So while the respondents to this poll question might have been randomly selected, the future sites of new nuclear power plants in the U.S. will not be. For the most part, the industry is considering building new nuclear reactors at current plant sites in communities that have lived side by side with nuclear power plants for decades. And when you ask those people how they feel about building new nuclear power plants in their communities, 71% answer favorably (MS Word).

For the complete archive of our publication, Perspective on Public Opinion, click here.

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