New Franklin & Marshall Poll of PA Voters Finds More Than Half Favor Nuclear Energy as Part of State’s Long-Term Energy Strategy; Believe Lawmakers Should Address Climate Change

HARRISBURG (March 28, 2019) – A new poll of registered Pennsylvania voters released today by Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) illustrates that Pennsylvanians understand the real threats of climate change, and see how nuclear energy can be part of the state’s long-term solution to the problem.

The survey finds an overwhelming number of voters believe climate change is currently causing problems (67%) and most (68%) think the state should do more to address those problems. That is exactly what new legislation proposed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives would do. H.B. 11 – the Keep Powering Pennsylvania Act – would reform an existing state law to properly value the environmental attributes of nuclear energy by updating Pennsylvania’s landmark 2004 legislation, called the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS). AEPS currently excludes the one source of energy – nuclear power – that provides 93 percent of the Commonwealth’s zero-carbon electricity. Pennsylvania’s five nuclear power plants help avoid 37 million tons of CO2 emissions per year, the equivalent of taking 8 million passenger cars off the road.

The F&M survey specifically asked Pennsylvania voters about the proposed legislation to amend AEPS. When asked if they favor or oppose including nuclear energy as one part of the state’s long-term energy strategy, a plurality of voters said they would favor such a strategy (54%) as compared to those who would oppose it (32%).

“We hope Pennsylvania lawmakers take a close look at these important and timely findings, and embrace what their constituents are telling them,” said NPP Co-Chair Martin Williams. “Pennsylvanians are concerned about climate change and what that means for our future. The authors of the F&M survey called out climate change as one of those issues that most concerns voters. And as Pennsylvanians have learned more about the clean-air attributes of nuclear power, they understand why we must take action to preserve our nuclear fleet. Pennsylvanians like nuclear power. Poll after poll supports that fact.”

A closer look at the survey data finds that support for nuclear energy is stronger among Republican voters. When asked specifically about the proposal to add nuclear power to the current AEPS law, 56% of Republican voters were in favor as compared to those opposed (35%).

According to economists at The Brattle Group, failure to address today’s energy imbalance will cost Pennsylvanians an estimated $4.6 billion annually. This includes:  

  • $788 million in increased electricity costs;
  • $2 billion in lost state GDP;
  • $1.6 billion in carbon emissions-related costs; and
  • $260 million in costs associated with harmful emissions.

About Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s nuclear energy industry provides millions of families and businesses with safe, reliable and carbon-free electricity. Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania is a statewide coalition that works to educate all Pennsylvanians about the economic and environmental benefits of nuclear energy and the industry’s positive impact on local communities throughout the Keystone State. Learn more at Follow NPP on Twitter @NuclearPowersPA.