Most Americans doubt U.S. readiness for nuclear emergency: poll

10:30, April 09, 2011      

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As the nuclear crisis in Japan is dragging on, most Americans have expressed their skepticism about the U.S. readiness for a nuclear emergency, a newly-released poll showed.

Of those polled, nearly three-fourths are somewhat or not confident about the federal government's readiness to respond to a nuclear emergency, while only about one-fourth are highly confident, according to the poll published on Friday.

However, many of the participants doubt that an emergency like the one at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan could happen in the United States, said the poll conducted by GfK, a market research company, in cooperation with the Associated Press.

About three in 10 think such an emergency is extremely or very likely, compared with seven in 10 who think it is only somewhat or not likely.

Among those who think such a disaster is highly likely, nearly 80 percent doubt the federal government would be prepared to deal with such an event.

Even among those who think it's not too likely or not at all likely to happen, almost two-thirds still lack confidence the government would be ready.

The poll also found that 60 percent of the respondents oppose building more nuclear power plants in the United States, an increase from 48 percent in a November 2009 survey.

According to the poll, nearly one in four Americans live within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of a nuclear power reactor. Those who reported living within 50 miles of a nuclear plant were not significantly more or less likely to have confidence in the government's ability to handle a nuclear disaster.

In the wake of the Japanese crisis, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has repeatedly assured the public that the nation's 104 nuclear reactors continue to operate safely.

The poll, conducted March 24-28, involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,001 adults nationwide and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

Source: Xinhua
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