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United States

Poll reveals Americans wary of atomic energy

The energy establishment touts nuclear power as a crucial part of the answer to global warming, but Americans are increasingly wary of atomic energy. An opinion poll released in March, 20 years after the Three Mile Island accident, finds that fewer than half of those questioned want electricity to be generated from nuclear power. The survey also finds that even among those who support nuclear, most do not want to live within ten miles of a plant. Fortyfive per cent say they support the use of nuclear energy for electricity, down 10% from a decade ago. About one in three say they oppose its use, about a half say that spent fuel cannot be stored safely over the long-term, and one in four say they do not know-a doubling of the "don't knows" from 1989. Although 60% say they believe nuclear plants have become safer, half say they do expect a serious accident at a nuclear power plant within the U S. One-fifth of America's electricity is generated from nuclear. No plants are currently under construction, although some existing plants are seeking relicensing.

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