ACCORDING TO A RECENT PUBLIC OPINION poll conducted for the Nuclear Energy Institute, nearly seven of 10 Americans favor nuclear energy, and 68 percent support building a new reactor at the existing nuclear power plant closest to where they live. Regionally, 70 percent of respondents in the Northeast and Midwest favor the use of nuclear energy, 67 percent in the South and 66 percent in the West. Favorability among Northeast residents has increased 12 percent since March of this year. This public opinion could open more opportunities for electrical contractors.

The nationwide survey shows that 81 percent of those polled believe that nuclear energy will play an important role in meeting United States’ future electricity needs, and 76 percent agree that U.S. utilities should prepare to build new nuclear plants if needed in the next decade. Sixty-three percent say electric companies should “definitely” build new nuclear power plants in the future.

Bisconti Research and GfK NOP conducted the survey Sept. 7–10, through telephone interviews with nationally representative samples of 1,000 U.S. adults age 18 or older. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.

“The survey results confirm trends that we have been seeing for several years that there is a recognition by the American people of the value of nuclear energy and the need for it to play a significant role in America’s energy production mix,” said Ann Bisconti, president of Bisconti Research.

Nuclear energy produces electricity for one of every five U.S. homes and businesses without emitting any greenhouse gases linked to the threat of global climate change. To meet an expected 45 percent increase in electricity demand by 2030, many electric companies are taking steps today to build new nuclear power plants. Twelve energy companies or consortia have announced plans to file 19 combined-construction and operating license (COL) applications with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build up to 30 new reactors. These companies will begin submitting COL applications in 2007.    EC