Local communities welcome new reactor projects.
Ann S. Bisconti is president of Bisconti Research Inc., and has been researching public opinion on nuclear energy issues for more than 25 years. Email her at email@example.com.
Visitors to Waynesboro in northeast Georgia might be surprised at local residents’ opinions about two new nuclear energy plants planned for that site; namely, they’re giving the reactors a warm welcome.
The two new units, at Georgia Power’s Vogtle power plant, became the first new nuclear facilities to receive U.S. government support when the Obama Administration in February awarded $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees for the project.What about NIMBY, the theory that no one wants a nuclear power plant or other energy facility in their backyard? Counter to outdated conventional wisdom, most residents in areas that already have experience with nuclear energy facilities are saying, “Yes, in my backyard.”
My firm has surveyed residents living within 10 miles of the 64 nuclear power plant locations in 31 states three times since 2005, most recently in 2009. The surveys of 1,152 adults show deep and wide local support for these plants (see Figure 1). On average across these sites, 84 percent in 2009 said they favor the use of nuclear energy—58 percent strongly. Three-fourths would find it acceptable to add a new reactor at the nearest nuclear power plant, including 82 percent of men and 72 percent of women (see Figure 2).