Public confidence in the United States government's readiness to respond to a nuclear emergency is low according to a recent poll. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed felt it was at least somewhat likely a disaster situation could occur on U.S. soil.
With Japan still reeling from yet another strong earthquake yesterday and efforts at Fukushima Daiichi's crippled reactor continuing with workers struggling to control leaks of contaminated water, Americans have sounded off on their disapproval of nuclear power and their fear that we are not prepared for such a disaster.
According to the survey opinions on nuclear power have shifted in the USA, where the majority of the world’s nuclear reactors are in operation. There are 104 nuclear power plants in the country, said the AP-GfK report. They combine to generate approximately 20% of the country’s total electricity.
"Only 39% of Americans are in support of building any new nuclear power plants" following the Japanese disaster, in contrast to 49% of respondents who advocated it in autumn 2009."
The release of the Associated Press-GfK poll comes as the international community watches and criticizes the Japanese government efforts to control the radioactive water rushing into the ocean that is reported to be 7.5 million times the legal limit.
The results of the poll concluded:
"It is considered extremely likely by 14% of Americans that a nuclear accident such as that in Japan could also occur in the USA. A further 15% believe that a similar disaster is very likely, while 36% think it is somewhat likely. Nevertheless, 26% of respondents consider it is rather unlikely that such a disaster will occur in the USA, but only 9% think that it is not at all likely.
Confidence that the American government would be prepared in the event of such a catastrophe occurring in the USA is quite low: only 9% of Americans are extremely confident, while 18% are very confident and 41% somewhat confident. However, 19% of Americans are not too confident and 13% are not at all confident that their government is prepared for a breakdown of this magnitude."
"The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has publicly said in the aftermath of Fukushima that all U.S. nuclear plants are operating safely and that it will re-examine both its own regulations and practices as well as the ability of U.S. reactors to withstand natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and power blackouts, among other things," reported Time.