Policymakers: Public Opinion of Nuclear is Positive

As Americans experience record-breaking heat waves, floods, and wildfires, they are looking for solutions to climate change and supporting U.S. policymakers who are working to lead us out of the climate crisis.

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Graphic: ecoAmerica

Graphic: ecoAmerica

So, what types of energy and energy policies do Americans want?

Well over half of Americans (56 percent) support existing nuclear energy and recognize that it produces around 20 percent of our electricity, according to ecoAmerica’s third annual American Climate Perspectives Survey. The survey found that 64 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of Democrats support nuclear power. This support has grown, up from 49 percent in 2018 to 56 percent in 2020, driven by a notable rise in Democrat support (up from 37 percent in 2018). The full report can be found here.

Seventy percent of people in the U.S. credit nuclear power plants with generating a lot of electricity, reliably, and 64 percent say that nuclear power plants keep America competitive and energy independent. Sixty-two percent of Americans want to keep nuclear power plants running as long as they are cost effective.

When defined as a new technology that is cheap, produces little waste, and is fail-safe so human errors can’t cause widespread damage, 74 percent of Americans indicated they would support “new”nuclear power such as molten salt reactors. Among those who do not support nuclear power, 17 percent indicated they would shift their opinion to support it after learning that we can clean up unhealthy pollution and make the climate stable by modernizing nuclear power.

“Americans clearly want a wholesale shift to clean energy sources—and they want policymakers to enact real solutions to the existential threat of climate change,” said Dr. Leslie Dewan, founder of Criticality Capital. “This survey shows that Americans of both parties support using new and existing nuclear power to build a carbon-free future.”

“Washington is sensing the growing support for nuclear,” said Eric Meyer, executive director of Generation Atomic, an advocacy group. “In the last couple of years, we’ve seen two bipartisan nuclear innovation bills become law, the Department of Energy fund multiple advanced reactor demonstration projects, and the Democratic Party add nuclear as an important clean energy source in their party platform for the first time since 1972. The tide is changing, and just in time to help us rapidly address climate change.”

About Generation Atomic

Generation Atomic is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is growing a movement to fight for the atomic energy of today and tomorrow. Since 2017 they’ve reached millions of people over social media and empowered thousands to contact their elected officials in support of protecting today’s reactors from early shutdown and laying the groundwork for the next generation of low carbon, environmentally friendly energy. Learn more and take action at GenerationAtomic.Org.