The way Washington is operating, the fate of nuclear energy may be in trouble in the United States. When something’s unpopular with the American public, the government will find a way to make it move forward. This past weekend’s vote proves to be a pretty good example of that. A recently released Gallup poll shows support for nuclear at an all-time high of 62 percent:
“A majority of Americans have typically favored using nuclear power to provide electricity for the United States since Gallup began asking about this topic in 1994. Support has edged up in the last two years, eclipsing 60% this year for the first time. In addition, 28% of Americans now say they “strongly favor” nuclear power, also the highest Gallup has measured since the question was first asked in 1994.”
Despite not building a plant in three decades, the public’s support for nuclear energy in the United States continues to climb with each passing year. What does the government plan to do about it? Expand loan guarantees for new nuclear plants rather than implement the policy reforms necessary to achieve a thriving, sustainable industry. You can read Heritage’s position on the loan guarantee debate here.
Finding a solution for waste management, making the regulatory process more efficient and equipping the NRC to regulate multiple reactor technologies would do much more long-term good for prospects of nuclear power. Interestingly, the rising support does not come out of fears of global warming, says Gallup:
“While 28 percent of respondents said they worry about global warming a “great deal,” the percentage of those saying they don’t worry at all is a notch higher — 29 percent, which is the highest percentage Gallup has ever recorded for this issue by at least 9 percentage points. The combined 48 percent who worry about global warming “only a little” or “not at all” also appears to be a new high for the poll, and the first time more than 40 percent have responded that way since 47 percent did in 2004.”
Furthermore, the public overwhelmingly support drilling for oil and natural gas in the United States. So naturally, “A federal judge has approved a first-of-its-kind settlement requiring the government to suspend 38,000 acres of oil and gas leases in Montana so it can gauge how oil field activities contribute to climate change.”
Instead of enacting policies to create jobs and increase energy supplies that would mitigate the public’s concerns about the economy, just the opposite is taking place. Surprised?