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Nuclear power in US: public support plummets in wake of Fukushima crisis

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“The American public clearly favors a conservative approach to energy that insists on it being safe in all senses of the word – including the risk to local communities and citizens," Pam Solo, founder and president of the Civil Society Institute, the Newton, Mass.-based nonpartisan think tank, said in a conference call. "These poll findings support the need for a renewed national debate about the energy choices that America makes."

American views on nuclear power

The new CSI/OCR survey, she says, is an attempt to dig deeper into public attitudes on nuclear power. It shows, for instance, that 53 percent of Americans would support “a moratorium on new nuclear reactor construction in the United States” – but only if “increased energy efficiency and off-the-shelf renewable technologies such as wind and solar could meet our energy demands for the near term.”

That's a big "if." Nuclear industry boosters and others contend it is virtually impossible. A new plan by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., a Boston energy-consulting firm, suggests nuclear power could be reduced by one-quarter, but only in a transition over four decades.

"If done in a gradual way, over time, there's plenty of time to backfill" the declines in nuclear power though systems like solar and wind, Bruce Biewald, president of Synapse Energy told reporters in a conference call hosted by CSI unveiling the findings.

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