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Public Opinion on Nuclear Energy

Updated: Oct 22, 2018



The Rainey Center is thrilled to announce the latest research from David Gargaro, Associate Fellow for Energy, Public Opinion on Nuclear Energy: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Political Ideology & Support for Nuclear Energy in the United States.


Gargaro writes, "Nuclear energy is complicated. Since the devastating 2011 tsunami-related reactor meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, public support of nuclear energy – as a means of supplying electricity – has slumped to a historical low, internationally. In 2016, as part of their annual Environment Poll, Gallup – who have tested on public support for nuclear energy since 1994 – reported for the first time that a majority of Americans now oppose nuclear energy. Having surveyed respondents just a few days before the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Plant, Gallup reported that support for nuclear energy stood at 57%, but as is detailed in their annual findings, support has successively fallen every year to a record low of just 44% in 2016.


Most alarmingly, a steep upturn of public opposition can be seen in 2015, in which 11% of respondents signaled staunch opposition towards nuclear energy as a means of supplying electricity. However, given the numerous benefits of producing electricity via means of nuclear energy, why is there such evident public opposition?"

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