“American support for nuclear power has grown 10 points from 2018 to 2021. Three years ago, 49% of Americans said they supported nuclear compared to 59% today.”
That is a survey result from a national environmental group, ecoAmerica.
The group has environmental chops, including activists, carbon-minded businesspeople, and celebrities.
It is a big move in public opinion, especially among some who traditionally nix nuclear. “In 2021, 60% of Democrats report support for nuclear energy, compared to 37% in 2018.”
People are learning, maybe. Nuclear energy is carbon-free, so maybe that helps change nuclear’s image. If nothing else, proponents of nuclear ought to amplify that message.
Some state legislators get it. In September, for example, Illinois policymakers struck a deal to keep open two well-established nuclear plants.
What happened? Springfield, Illinois met reality. If the state was going to meet important carbon policies, it had to include nuclear. No renewables could fill the void from nuclear. Even the Illinois Chapter chair of the Sierra Club said. “renewables wouldn’t be ready in time to take their place.” (Source)
Where’s the weak link in the support for nuclear, according to ecoAmerica? Waste, if we use the term that nuclear detractors like. First, it is not waste, but used fuel, with a lot more power left to serve us.
Second, there is a real fear there, even though there has not been a used fuel accident. I believe these fears linger from the Carter-era campaign against nuclear; one that stopped a system to re-manufacture used fuels to be used in plants.
In a day of “reduce, re-use, recycle” today, maybe that 40+ year-old fear of “waste” needs to be in the dustbin itself. There are some advanced nuclear designs that can use that old fuel.
Those kinds of advancements can fuel greater support for nuclear power and help our fight against carbon emissions.