Insight from Public Surveys Related to Siting of Nuclear Waste Facilities: An Overview of Findings from a 2015 Nationwide Survey of US Residents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The results described in this report are an analysis of nationwide surveys, administered between 2006 and 2015, which measure preferences of US residents concerning the environment and energy sources. The Energy & Environment (EE) survey series is conducted annually by the Center for Energy, Security & Society (CES&S), a joint research collaboration of the University of Oklahoma and Sandia National Laboratories. The annual EE survey series is designed to track evolving public
... ck evolving public views on nuclear materials management in the US. The 2015 wave of the Energy and Environment survey (EE15) was implemented using a web-based questionnaire, and was completed by 2,021 respondents using an Internet sample that matches the characteristics of the adult US population as estimated in the US Census. A special focus of the EE15 survey is how survey respondents understand and evaluate "consent" in the context of the storage and transportation of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). This report presents an overview of key results from analyses of questions related to consent-based siting and other elements of the nuclear energy fuel cycle. The EE15 survey results show that respondents are reluctant to continue to rely on temporary on-site storage of SNF, and that there is moderate support for developing one or more Interim Storage Facilities (ISFs). This finding is consistent with data from EE13 and EE14, suggesting that these perceptions are robust and stable over time. Support for ISFs is greater among respondents who live closest to current SNF storage sites. However, that support is also conditional on how proximate their residence would be to the proposed ISF. The EE15 survey asked respondents about their views on the design of a consent-based siting process. In particular, the survey included questions about which actors should have a veto during the siting process. Results indicate that there are important differences concerning who respondents believe should have veto authority in (a) designation of SNF transport routes and (b) siting ISFs. When asked who should be able to veto the designation of SNF transport routes, regulatory agenciesthe state environmental regulatory agency, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -topped the list. For ISF siting decisions, local and statewide residents and the state's environmental regulatory agency were most frequently chosen to have veto authority.