Results of a 1997 National

Nuclear Waste Transportation Survey

A Report by

James H. Flynn, C.K. Mertz, and Paul Slovic


Decision Research

1201 Oak Street

Eugene, Oregon 97401

541.485.2400

www.decisionresearch.org

 

January, 1998

 

Abstract

Yucca Mountain, Nevada is the only place in the United States being studied as a possible permanent, geological site to store high-level radioactive wastes, most of which are produced in nuclear power reactors located east of the Mississippi River. If the site is found suitable Ė a decision that is some years in the future and even further from approval by regulatory agencies Ė an underground repository would be constructed. In 1997, both houses of Congress passed similar bills to create temporary above-surface storage near Yucca Mountain and to require prompt shipment of wastes from reactors to the new facility. The Congressional program would initiate an unprecedented, massive (more than 1,000 shipments a year), cross-country (through 43 states and more than 500 communities), long-term (more than 30 year), shipping campaign.

This report presents results from a national survey of 972 respondents on a set of questions about the transportation of high-level radioactive wastes. The questions about public attitudes and opinions in regard to selected concerns about this transportation program were asked as part of the University of Marylandís 1997 National Omnibus Survey. The survey results show that the public is not well informed about proposed Congressional actions to locate an interim waste storage facility in Nevada and that there is strong opposition to the conditions that would exist with such a program.


1. Introduction

This report describes the results of a 1997 national telephone survey that asked questions about the transportation of high-level nuclear waste from nuclear power plants throughout the United States to Nevada. The survey was designed to address the following issues:

The questionnaire was designed by a study team at Decision Research, with review and technical comments by the University of Maryland Survey Research Center. A copy of the survey instrument is attached (Appendix A).

2. Methodology

The transportation survey was designed as a module in the University of Maryland Survey Research Centerís 1997 National Omnibus Survey. The target population was adults age 18 or older residing in telephone households in the 48 contiguous states. A sample of 3,836 telephone numbers was selected from Random Digit Dial (RED) dual frames. Of these, 1,766 were identified as households. Of these households, a total of 972 interviews was completed for a response rate of 55%. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.9% with a 95% confidence interval. Interviewing took place between July 3, 1997 and November 17, 1997. Weighting of data was performed to produce a final weighted sample of 972 individuals, adjusted to match 1993 U.S. population proportions in terms of sex, age, education, race, and region.1 The Survey Methods Report by the University of Maryland, Survey Research Center can be found in Appendix B.

3. Summary of Key Findings

This section presents some of the key findings identified in this report.

1) Overall, there was a low level of knowledge about legislation in the current Congress that would authorize interim storage of high-level radioactive wastes in Nevada. Only one-third (35.3%) of the respondents indicated that they had heard of this proposed legislation.

2) The majority of the respondents (66.4%) are opposed to the plan, which would ship wastes to Nevada before a permanent facility was approved (see Figure 1.1). Of those opposing the plan, three-quarters were strongly opposed to the plan. While a strong majority of all respondents were opposed, women were more likely to be opposed than men (73.6% versus 58.2%).

3) Three-quarters (77.5%) of the respondents thought the federal government should reimburse state and local governments for costs involved in monitoring and managing transportation of high-level radioactive wastes through their area, such as emergency preparedness activities.

4) Nearly two-thirds (63.6%) thought the value of property located along the main high-level radioactive waste transportation routes would be lowered (see Figure 1.2).

5) Seventy percent of the respondents felt that terrorist groups could successfully attack shipments of high-level radioactive wastes (see Figure 1.3).

6) Most people (81.8%) disagreed with a statement saying they would be willing to live near a high-level radioactive waste transportation route; 48.6% strong disagreed.

7) Respondents were divided on whether the nuclear industry could safely store nuclear wastes at their power plants for the foreseeable future, with almost a fifth (19.5%) saying they did not know.

8) There was a clear preference for the federal government to manage high-level nuclear waste transportation rather than contracting with private companies to do this (52.2% versus 36.5% with 10.0% donít know responses).

4. Knowledge of Proposed Repository Program

The first question in the transportation module of the Omnibus Survey asked respondents about their knowledge of the federal program for storing nuclear wastes. The following introduction was provided:

Nuclear power plants generate high-level radioactive wastes in producing electricity. This waste is now stored temporarily at the power plants. The federal government is studying a possible disposal site in Nevada for these wastes, but it will not be known for several years if it will be suitable for permanent waste storage.

Respondents were then asked if they had heard anything about this issue. Nearly two-thirds (64.2%) of the respondents said they had not heard about this issue (see Table 1). Men were more likely to say they had heard about this issue than women; 44.2% of the men reported they had heard of this issue compared to 27.3% of the women. Older respondents (age 55 and over) also were more likely to have heard about this issue with 42.7% reporting they had heard about it compared to only 17.1% of the younger respondents (age 18-29). College-education respondents were more likely to have heard of the nuclear waste storage issue than were those with a high school education or less (49.7% versus 28.0%).

Responses also were examined by census tract region: northeast, midwest, south, and west. Respondents from the west region were somewhat more likely to have heard of this issue with 40.2% reporting they had heard compared to 32.3% to 36.1% in the other three regions.

 

Table 1. Knowledge of Proposed Repository Program

Q12. Nuclear power plants generate high-level radioactive wastes in producing electricity. This waste is now stored temporarily at the power plants. The federal government is studying a possible disposal site in Nevada for these wastes, but it will not be known for several years if it will be suitable for permanent waste storage. Have you heard anything about this issue?

NO

YES

DK

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

624

64.19

343

35.29

5

0.52

972

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

254

40.6 (55.8)

201

58.7 (44.2)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

455

46.8 (100)

Female

368

58.9 (71.7)

140

40.9 (27.3)

5

100 ( 1.0)

513

52.8 (100)

Missing

3

0.4 (63.6)

2

0.5 (36.4)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

4

0.4 (100)

Total

624

100 (64.2)

343

100 (35.3)

5

100 ( 0.5)

972

100 (100)

Educational level

High School or less

360

57.7 (71.2)

142

41.3 (28.0)

4

77.4 ( 0.8)

505

52.0 (100)

Some college

149

23.9 (61.6)

93

27.0 (38.4)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

242

24.9 (100)

College Graduate

97

15.6 (50.1)

97

28.2 (49.7)

0

8.3 ( 0.2)

195

20.0 (100)

Missing

18

2.8 (57.9)

12

3.5 (39.8)

1

14.3 ( 2.4)

31

3.1 (100)

Total

624

100 (64.2)

343

100 (35.3)

5

100 ( 0.5)

972

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

171

27.4 (82.9)

35

10.2 (17.1)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

206

21.2 (100)

30 to 54

275

44.2 (60.9)

176

51.4 (38.9)

1

14.9 ( 0.2)

452

46.5 (100)

55 & over

146

23.4 (55.9)

111

32.5 (42.7)

4

70.8 ( 1.4)

261

26.8 (100)

Missing

32

5.1 (60.5)

20

5.9 (38.1)

1

14.3 ( 1.4)

53

5.4 (100)

Total

624

100 (64.2)

343

100 (35.3)

5

100 ( 0.5)

972

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

129

20.7 (65.5)

67

19.7 (34.3)

0

8.3 ( 0.2)

197

20.2 (100)

Midwest

145

23.3 (62.5)

84

24.4 (36.1)

3

62.5 ( 1.4)

232

23.9 (100)

South

227

36.4 (67.7)

108

31.6 (32.3)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

335

34.5 (100)

West

123

19.7 (59.1)

83

24.3 (40.2)

1

29.2 ( 0.7)

208

21.4 (100)

Total

624

100 (64.2)

343

100 (35.3)

5

100 ( 0.5)

972

100 (100)

 

 

 

5. Support and Opposition for Temporary Storage Facility in Nevada

Favor/oppose program. Respondents were then presented with some brief information about a bill being considered in Congress regarding shipment of nuclear wastes to Nevada for temporary storage. The question read as follows:

A bill being considered in Congress would ship these wastes to Nevada for temporary storage before the permanent facility gets final approval. This will require about one thousand shipments by truck or rail each year with routes through 43 states and more than 500 communities. Do you favor or oppose shipping high-level radioactive waste to Nevada for temporary storage even though the government does not have approval for permanent storage there?

Two-thirds of the respondents (66.4%) reported that they opposed shipping the waste to Nevada for temporary storage (See Table 2). Women were more likely than men to oppose the shipments with 73.6% opposed compared to 58.2% of the men. This is consistent with findings from other surveys that found that women reported greater opposition to nuclear facilities.2

Younger and middle aged respondents (ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 54) were more likely to oppose the bill than were respondents age 55 and over (70% versus 58.%). Respondents with a high school education or less were more likely to report opposition to the shipping program than were college-educated respondents (69.7% versus 58.2%). Respondents living in the west and Midwest also were somewhat more likely to oppose the program than were those living in the northeast or south.

Intensity of support or opposition. In order to assess the strength of support or opposition to the plan to ship wastes to Nevada, respondents were asked to tell us how strongly they held their positions. Differences in intensity of position were sizeable. Of those who opposed the plan, 76.1% were strongly opposed; of those favoring the plan, 47.1% were strongly in favor of it (see Tables 3 and 4).

Respondents living in the western region were less likely to strongly favor shipping the wastes to Nevada than those living in the other regions (29.6% versus 43.5% to 57.6%). Among those who did support the shipments (n=165 or 17% of the total sample), men were more likely than women to indicate strong support Middle aged and older respondents were about twice as likely to strongly favor the plan compared to younger respondents.

 

Table 2. Support and Opposition for Temporary Storage Facility in Nevada

 

Q13. A bill being considered in Congress would ship these wastes to Nevada for temporary storage before the permanent facility gets final approval. This will require about one thousand shipments by truck or rail each year with routes through 43 states and more than 500 communities. Do you favor or oppose shipping high-level radioactive waste to Nevada for temporary storage even though the government does not have approval for permanent storage there?

FAVOR

OPPOSE

DK

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

165

16.96

646

66.41

162

16.63

972

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

117

71.1 (25.8)

265

41.0 (58.2)

73

45.0 (16.0)

455

46.8 (100)

Female

47

28.3 ( 9.1)

377

58.5 (73.6)

89

55.0 (17.3)

513

52.8 (100)

Missing

1

0.5 (21.0)

3

0.5 (79.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

4

0.4 (100)

Total

165

100 (17.0)

646

100 (66.4)

162

100 (16.6)

972

100 (100)

Educational level

High School or less

80

48.4 (15.8)

352

54.6 (69.7)

73

45.2 (14.5)

505

52.0 (100)

Some college

35

21.0 (14.3)

158

24.5 (65.4)

49

30.2 (20.2)

242

24.9 (100)

College Graduate

46

28.2 (23.9)

113

17.5 (58.2)

35

21.6 (17.9)

195

20.0 (100)

Missing

4

2.4 (13.1)

22

3.4 (71.1)

5

3.0 (15.7)

31

3.1 (100)

Total

165

100 (17.0)

646

100 (66.4)

162

100 (16.6)

972

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

27

16.3 (13.1)

144

22.2 (69.8)

35

21.8 (17.2)

206

21.2 (100)

30 to 54

77

46.5 (17.0)

313

48.5 (69.2)

63

38.7 (13.8)

452

46.5 (100)

55 & over

56

34.0 (21.5)

151

23.5 (58.1)

53

33.0 (20.4)

261

26.8 (100)

Missing

5

3.1 ( 9.8)

37

5.8 (70.5)

10

6.5 (19.7)

53

5.4 (100)

Total

165

100 (17.0)

646

100 (66.4)

162

100 (16.6)

972

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

45

27.5 (23.0)

127

19.7 (64.5)

25

15.2 (12.5)

197

20.2 (100)

Midwest

34

20.9 (14.8)

160

24.7 (68.8)

38

23.6 (16.4)

232

23.9 (100)

South

55

33.3 (16.4)

213

33.0 (63.5)

68

41.8 (20.1)

335

34.5 (100)

West

30

18.3 (14.5)

146

22.6 (70.3)

31

19.5 (15.2)

208

21.4 (100)

Total

165

100 (17.0)

646

100 (66.4)

162

100 (16.6)

972

100 (100)

 

 

Table 3. Intensity of Support for Program

Q14. Would you say that you favor that strongly or not so strongly? [Only asked of respondents favoring program in Q13]

Strongly

Not so strongly

DK

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

78

47.09

77

46.93

10

5.98

165

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

59

76.4 (50.6)

52

66.6 (43.9)

6

65.5 ( 5.5)

117

71.1 (100)

Female

17

22.5 (37.3)

26

33.4 (55.4)

3

34.5 ( 7.3)

47

28.3 (100)

Missing

1

1.2 (100)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

1

0.5 (100)

Total

78

100 (47.1)

77

100 (46.9)

10

100 ( 6.0)

165

100 (100)

Educational Level

High School or less

39

49.8 (48.5)

35

45.5 (44.2)

6

59.5 ( 7.4)

80

48.4 (100)

Some college

14

17.5 (39.1)

20

26.3 (58.7)

1

7.7 ( 2.2)

35

21.0 (100)

College Graduate

25

31.6 (52.8)

19

24.2 (40.2)

3

32.8 ( 7.0)

46

28.2 (100)

Missing

1

1.2 (22.4)

3

4.0 (77.6)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

4

2.4 (100)

Total

78

100 (47.1)

77

100 (46.9)

10

100 ( 6.0)

165

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

7

9.0 (25.9)

20

25.8 (74.1)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

27

16.3 (100)

30 to 54

38

49.3 (49.9)

34

43.5 (43.9)

5

48.1 ( 6.2)

77

46.5 (100)

55 & over

30

38.2 (52.9)

22

28.0 (38.6)

5

48.3 ( 8.5)

56

34.0 (100)

Missing

3

3.5 (52.1)

2

2.8 (41.1)

0

3.6 ( 6.8)

5

3.1 (100)

Total

78

100 (47.1)

77

100 (46.9)

10

100 ( 6.0)

165

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

20

25.4 (43.5)

22

28.3 (48.3)

4

37.7 ( 8.2)

45

27.5 (100)

Midwest

20

25.5 (57.6)

13

17.4 (39.2)

1

11.0 ( 3.1)

34

20.9 (100)

South

29

37.5 (53.0)

23

29.5 (41.5)

3

30.4 ( 5.5)

55

33.3 (100)

West

9

11.5 (29.6)

19

24.8 (63.6)

2

20.9 ( 6.8)

30

18.3 (100)

Total

78

100 (47.1)

77

100 (46.9)

10

100 ( 6.0)

165

100 (100)

 

 

Table 4. Intensity of Opposition to Program

Q15. Would you say that you oppose that strongly or not so strongly? [Only asked of respondents opposing the program in Q13]

Strongly

Not so strongly

DK

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

491

76.05

136

21.14

18

2.81

646

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

197

40.0 (74.3)

64

46.6 (24.0)

5

24.9 ( 1.7)

265

41.0 (100)

Female

292

59.5 (77.4)

72

52.7 (19.0)

14

75.1 ( 3.6)

377

58.5 (100)

Missing

2

0.5 (71.3)

1

0.7 (28.7)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

3

0.5 (100)

Total

491

100 (76.1)

136

100 (21.1)

18

100 ( 2.8)

646

100 (100)

Educational Level

High School or less

264

53.7 (74.8)

78

57.3 (22.2)

11

59.3 ( 3.0)

352

54.6 (100)

Some college

127

25.9 (80.4)

28

20.4 (17.6)

3

17.1 ( 2.0)

158

24.5 (100)

College Graduate

83

16.8 (72.9)

26

19.3 (23.3)

4

23.6 ( 3.8)

113

17.5 (100)

Missing

18

3.6 (81.1)

4

3.0 (18.9)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

22

3.4 (100)

Total

491

100 (76.1)

136

100 (21.1)

18

100 ( 2.8)

646

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

95

19.4 (66.3)

46

33.5 (31.8)

3

15.3 ( 1.9)

144

22.2 (100)

30 to 54

259

52.7 (82.6)

49

36.3 (15.8)

5

28.2 ( 1.6)

313

48.5 (100)

55 & over

109

22.3 (72.1)

33

23.9 (21.6)

10

52.6 ( 6.3)

151

23.5 (100)

Missing

28

5.7 (74.9)

9

6.4 (23.2)

1

3.9 ( 1.9)

37

5.8 (100)

Total

491

100 (76.1)

136

100 (21.1)

18

100 ( 2.8)

646

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

102

20.7 (80.2)

20

14.8 (15.9)

5

26.9 ( 3.8)

127

19.7 (100)

Midwest

127

25.9 (79.8)

30

21.7 (18.6)

3

14.9 ( 1.7)

160

24.7 (100)

South

156

31.8 (73.4)

50

36.6 (23.5)

7

36.2 ( 3.1)

213

33.0 (100)

West

105

21.5 (72.2)

37

26.8 (25.1)

4

22.0 ( 2.7)

146

22.6 (100)

Total

491

100 (76.1)

136

100 (21.1)

18

100 ( 2.8)

646

100 (100)

 

Regional and demographic differences in strength of opposition were not as great. Middle aged respondents were somewhat more likely to indicate strong opposition to shipping the wastes than older or younger respondents (82.6% versus 72.1% and 66.3%).

Favor/oppose if route went through Respondentís community. Respondents who favored shipping nuclear wastes to Nevada were asked another question to gauge the extent of their support. They were asked: "Suppose a highway or rail transportation route for these waste shipments went through your community, would you favor or oppose the plan?" Nearly three-quarters (72.7%) still favored the plan even when a transportation route went through their community. See Table 5.

Men were much more likely to favor the plan even under such conditions than women (80.2% versus 53.4%). Middle aged respondents were more likely to report favoring the plan than other age groups with 80.6% of those age 30 to 54 exhibiting favor compared to 62 to 64 percent of younger and older respondents. College-educated respondents also were more likely to favor the plan than respondents with a high school education or less (89.1% versus 60.8%).

6. Should State and Local Governments be Reimbursed for Costs?

Another issue for state and local governments involves the local costs of high-level nuclear waste transportation, including planning, monitoring shipments, emergency preparedness, and responding to transportation accidents. Respondents were asked if they thought the federal government should reimburse states and localities for costs like these. More than three-quarters of the respondents (77.5%) thought state and local governments should be reimbursed for such costs (see Table 6). Middle aged and younger respondents were more likely than older respondents to think that state and local governments should be reimbursed (81% versus 70%). Men were somewhat more likely to feel this way than women (80.9% versus 74.4%).

7. Attitudes about Risks of Shipping Nuclear Waste

Four questions were asked to assess peopleís concerns or perceptions of risks specific to transporting nuclear waste. Items asked about risks of attack from terrorist groups, risks to property values along routes, personal willingness to live near a high-level nuclear waste transportation route, and comparisons of risks of transporting nuclear waste to shipping gasoline or industrial chemicals. The items were posed as statements and respondents were asked whether they strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree with the statement.

One item asked if the value of property located along the main high-level radioactive waste transportation routes would be lowered. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (63.6%) recorded agree or strongly agree responses with one-quarter (23.6%) strongly agreeing with this statement. See Table 7. Responses to this statement varied by age and education. Three-quarters of younger respondents agreed or strongly agreed with this statement compared to 65.0% of those age 30 to 54 and 54.6% of older respondents (age 55 and over). Respondents with a high school education or less also were more likely to agree with 66.0% recording agree or strongly agree responses compared to 54.7% of college-educated respondents.

Table 5. Support When Route Goes Through Respondentís Community

Q16. Suppose a highway or rail transportation route for these waste shipments went through your community, would you favor or oppose the plan? [Only asked of respondents favoring program in Q13]

FAVOR

OPPOSE

DK

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

120

72.73

43

25.79

2

1.48

165

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

94

78.4 (80.2)

21

50.0 (18.1)

2

78.9 ( 1.6)

117

71.1 (100)

Female

25

20.8 (53.4)

21

50.0 (45.5)

1

21.1 ( 1.1)

47

28.3 (100)

Missing

1

0.8 (100)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

1

0.5 (100)

Total

120

100 (72.7)

43

100 (25.8)

2

100 ( 1.5)

165

100 (100)

Educational Level

High School or less

48

40.4 (60.8)

30

70.9 (37.8)

1

45.6 ( 1.4)

80

48.4 (100)

Some college

26

21.7 (75.1)

8

19.1 (23.4)

1

21.1 ( 1.5)

35

21.0 (100)

College Graduate

41

34.5 (89.1)

4

10.0 ( 9.2)

1

33.3 ( 1.8)

46

28.2 (100)

Missing

4

3.4 (100)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

4

2.4 (100)

Total

120

100 (72.7)

43

100 (25.8)

2

100 ( 1.5)

165

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

17

14.0 (62.5)

10

23.7 (37.5)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

27

16.3 (100)

30 to 54

62

51.6 (80.6)

15

35.0 (19.4)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

77

46.5 (100)

55 & over

36

30.1 (64.3)

18

41.3 (31.3)

2

100 ( 4.4)

56

34.0 (100)

Missing

5

4.3 (100)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

5

3.1 (100)

Total

120

100 (72.7)

43

100 (25.8)

2

100 ( 1.5)

165

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

34

28.3 (74.9)

11

25.6 (24.0)

1

21.1 ( 1.1)

45

27.5 (100)

Midwest

23

19.2 (66.8)

11

26.9 (33.2)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

34

20.9 (100)

South

40

33.4 (72.9)

13

30.5 (23.6)

2

78.9 ( 3.5)

55

33.3 (100)

West

23

19.2 (76.0)

7

17.0 (24.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

30

18.3 (100)

Total

120

100 (72.7)

43

100 (25.8)

2

100 ( 1.5)

165

100 (100)

 

 

Table 6. Should Federal Government Reimburse State/Local Governments for Costs?

Q17. The transportation of high-level radioactive wastes means that state and local governments may have to spend money on things like emergency preparedness. Do you think the federal government should reimburse the states and localities for costs like these?

NO

YES

DK

Ref

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

132

13.53

753

77.48

84

8.60

4

0.39

972

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

69

52.2 (15.1)

368

48.9 (80.9)

16

19.7 ( 3.6)

2

44.7 ( 0.4)

455

46.8 (100)

Female

62

47.1 (12.1)

382

50.7 (74.4)

67

80.3 (13.1)

2

55.3 ( 0.4)

513

52.8 (100)

Missing

1

0.8 (23.2)

3

0.4 (76.8)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

4

0.4 (100)

Total

132

100 (13.5)

753

100 (77.5)

84

100 ( 8.6)

4

100 ( 0.4)

972

100 (100)

Educational Level

High School or less

65

49.8 (13.0)

391

51.9 (77.3)

49

58.6 ( 9.7)

0

8.2 (<0.1)

505

52.0 (100)

Some college

31

23.3 (12.7)

196

26.0 (80.9)

12

14.7 ( 5.1)

3

83.7 ( 1.3)

242

24.9 (100)

College Graduate

31

23.3 (15.8)

145

19.3 (74.6)

18

22.1 ( 9.5)

0

8.1 ( 0.2)

195

20.0 (100)

Missing

5

3.7 (15.7)

22

2.9 (71.8)

4

4.6 (12.5)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

31

3.1 (100)

Total

132

100 (13.5)

753

100 (77.5)

84

100 ( 8.6)

4

100 ( 0.4)

972

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

31

23.9 (15.3)

166

22.0 (80.6)

8

9.1 ( 3.7)

1

22.5 ( 0.4)

206

21.2 (100)

30 to 54

53

40.2 (11.7)

365

48.5 (80.7)

33

39.5 ( 7.3)

2

44.7 ( 0.4)

452

46.5 (100)

55 & over

39

29.6 (15.0)

182

24.2 (69.8)

39

46.3 (14.8)

1

32.7 ( 0.5)

261

26.8 (100)

Missing

8

6.3 (15.7)

40

5.3 (76.0)

4

5.2 ( 8.2)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

53

5.4 (100)

Total

132

100 (13.5)

753

100 (77.5)

84

100 ( 8.6)

4

100 ( 0.4)

972

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

29

22.1 (14.7)

151

20.1 (76.8)

17

19.9 ( 8.4)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

197

20.2 (100)

Midwest

31

23.5 (13.3)

175

23.3 (75.5)

24

29.3 (10.5)

1

38.2 ( 0.6)

232

23.9 (100)

South

39

29.5 (11.6)

262

34.8 (78.1)

33

39.5 ( 9.8)

2

45.4 ( 0.5)

335

34.5 (100)

West

33

25.0 (15.8)

165

21.9 (79.3)

9

11.4 ( 4.6)

1

16.4 ( 0.3)

208

21.4 (100)

Total

132

100 (13.5)

753

100 (77.5)

84

100 ( 8.6)

4

100 ( 0.4)

972

100 (100)

 

 

Table 7. Property Values along Main Routes

Q19. The value of property located along the main high-level radioactive waste transportation routes would be lowered.

Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

DK

Ref

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

229

23.56

389

40.02

254

26.11

33

3.41

65

6.72

2

0.17

972

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

105

45.9 (23.1)

176

45.2 (38.7)

137

54.0 (30.1)

21

62.4 ( 4.6)

16

24.3 ( 3.5)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

455

46.8 (100)

Female

123

53.7 (24.0)

212

54.6 (41.4)

115

45.3 (22.4)

12

37.6 ( 2.4)

49

75.0 ( 9.6)

1

68.7 ( 0.2)

513

52.8 (100)

Missing

1

0.4 (22.6)

1

0.2 (13.7)

2

0.7 (41.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

0.7 (10.5)

1

31.3 (12.1)

4

0.4 (100)

Total

229

100 (23.6)

389

100 (40.0)

254

100 (26.1)

33

100 ( 3.4)

65

100 ( 6.7)

2

100 ( 0.2)

972

100 (100)

Educational Level

High School or less

153

66.9 (30.3)

180

46.3 (35.6)

119

47.1 (23.6)

18

53.7 ( 3.5)

33

51.2 ( 6.6)

1

68.7 ( 0.2)

505

52.0 (100)

Some college

34

15.0 (14.2)

126

32.3 (52.0)

62

24.2 (25.5)

6

18.7 ( 2.6)

14

21.1 ( 5.7)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

242

24.9 (100)

College Graduate

37

16.1 (19.0)

69

17.8 (35.7)

66

25.9 (33.7)

9

25.9 ( 4.4)

14

21.3 ( 7.2)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

195

20.0 (100)

Missing

4

1.9 (14.5)

14

3.5 (44.8)

7

2.8 (23.4)

1

1.7 ( 1.9)

4

6.4 (13.7)

1

31.3 ( 1.7)

31

3.1 (100)

Total

229

100 (23.6)

389

100 (40.0)

254

100 (26.1)

33

100 ( 3.4)

65

100 ( 6.7)

2

100 ( 0.2)

972

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

56

24.5 (27.3)

97

25.1 (47.3)

41

16.2 (19.9)

2

6.2 ( 1.0)

9

14.1 ( 4.5)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

206

21.2 (100)

30 to 54

125

54.4 (27.6)

169

43.5 (37.4)

119

46.7 (26.2)

22

65.1 ( 4.8)

18

28.0 ( 4.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

452

46.5 (100)

55 & over

39

17.0 (14.9)

104

26.6 (39.7)

80

31.6 (30.7)

8

25.4 ( 3.2)

29

43.7 (11.0)

1

68.7 ( 0.4)

261

26.8 (100)

Missing

9

4.1 (17.6)

19

4.8 (35.4)

14

5.5 (26.4)

1

3.3 ( 2.1)

9

14.2 (17.5)

1

31.3 ( 1.0)

53

5.4 (100)

Total

229

100 (23.6)

389

100 (40.0)

254

100 (26.1)

33

100 ( 3.4)

65

100 ( 6.7)

2

100 ( 0.2)

972

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

41

17.7 (20.6)

87

22.4 (44.3)

44

17.4 (22.4)

12

36.0 ( 6.1)

12

18.0 ( 6.0)

1

68.7 ( 0.6)

197

20.2 (100)

Midwest

50

21.8 (21.5)

93

23.9 (40.1)

61

24.2 (26.4)

9

27.0 ( 3.9)

18

28.3 ( 8.0)

1

31.3 ( 0.2)

232

23.9 (100)

South

86

37.5 (25.6)

129

33.1 (38.4)

91

35.8 (27.1)

8

24.6 ( 2.4)

22

33.4 ( 6.5)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

335

34.5 (100)

West

53

23.0 (25.4)

80

20.6 (38.5)

58

22.7 (27.7)

4

12.3 ( 2.0)

13

20.3 ( 6.4)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

208

21.4 (100)

Total

229

100 (23.6)

389

100 (40.0)

254

100 (26.1)

33

100 ( 3.4)

65

100 ( 6.7)

2

100 ( 0.2)

972

100 (100)

 

 

Another item asked respondents about their perceptions of risk from terrorist attacks. The statement was: "Terrorists groups can successfully attack shipments of high-level radioactive wastes." A large majority (70.4%) reported agreement with this statement with 19.5% recording strongly agree responses (see Table 8). These responses indicate greater concern about terrorists attacks than was found in a 1989 national survey where only 52.6% reported somewhat disagree or strongly disagree responses to the statement: " Shipments of nuclear wastes can be made safe from sabotage or attack by terrorists."3 This difference may be due to the wording change and/or increased public concerns about terrorist activities.

Middle-age respondents were somewhat more likely to agree and strongly agree that terrorists groups could successfully attack waste shipments with 75.7% agreement compared to 62.1% and 67.4% for older and younger age groups, respectively.

Respondents also were asked to response to a statement about their personal willingness to live near a high-level radioactive waste transportation route. A vast majority of the respondents (81.7%) disagreed or strongly disagreed with as statement that they would be willing to live near such a route. Nearly half (48.6%) strongly disagreed (see Table 9). Women were they were much less willing to live near a nuclear waste route than men (89.5% versus 73.0%). Middle-age and younger respondents were somewhat more likely to report disagreement with this statement than were older respondents.

Another item compared attitudes about the risk of shipping nuclear waste to the risk of shipping gasoline and industrial chemicals. A split sample was used on this item in order to control for possible wording influences. One version asked if there was less risk in shipping high-level radioactive wastes than in shipping gasoline or industrial chemicals. The other version asked if there was more risk in shipping high-level radioactive waste than gasoline or industrial chemicals. See Tables 10a and 10b.

When asked if there was less risk in shipping high-level nuclear waste, 55.6% disagreed or strongly disagreed, an indication that they considered these nuclear wastes more dangerous. About one-third (32.2%) agreed or strongly agreed with the statement; and 12.3% were uncertain.

When asked if there was more risk in shipping high-level nuclear waste, 73.3% agreed or strongly agreed. Less than one-fifth (18.7%) disagreed and 7.8% did not know. The wording of the question obviously influenced the responses. However, in both cases a clear majority reported that they considered high-level nuclear wastes as more risky than gasoline or industrial chemicals.

As with other questions, women were more concerned than men, and older people were less concerned than others, as were the college educated.

 

Table 8. Risk from Terrorist Attacks

Q20. Terrorist groups can successfully attack shipments of high-level radioactive wastes.

Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

DN

Ref

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

190

19.52

494

50.84

163

16.76

33

3.43

89

9.15

3

0.30

972

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

87

45.7 (19.1)

237

47.9 (52.1)

88

53.9 (19.3)

20

60.3 ( 4.4)

22

24.3 ( 4.7)

2

53.9 ( 0.3)

455

46.8 (100)

Female

102

53.5 (19.8)

256

51.8 (49.9)

75

46.1 (14.6)

12

37.1 ( 2.4)

67

75.1 (13.0)

1

46.1 ( 0.3)

513

52.8 (100)

Missing

1

0.8 (34.8)

1

0.3 (31.5)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

1

2.6 (20.0)

1

0.7 (13.7)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

4

0.4 (100)

Total

190

100 (19.5)

494

100 (50.8)

163

100 (16.8)

33

100 ( 3.4)

89

100 ( 9.1)

3

100 ( 0.3)

972

100 (100)

Educational Level

High School or less

116

61.3 (23.0)

229

46.4 (45.4)

95

58.2 (18.8)

22

67.1 ( 4.4)

41

46.4 ( 8.2)

1

40.7 ( 0.2)

505

52.0 (100)

Some college

36

19.2 (15.0)

145

29.4 (60.2)

30

18.6 (12.5)

3

8.8 ( 1.2)

26

29.6 (10.9)

0

12.7 ( 0.2)

242

24.9 (100)

College Graduate

29

15.3 (15.0)

109

22.1 (56.2)

32

19.8 (16.5)

6

18.6 ( 3.2)

16

18.4 ( 8.4)

1

46.5 ( 0.7)

195

20.0 (100)

Missing

8

4.2 (26.0)

10

2.1 (33.4)

6

3.4 (18.3)

2

5.5 ( 6.0)

5

5.6 (16.2)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

31

3.1 (100)

Total

190

100 (19.5)

494

100 (50.8)

163

100 (16.8)

33

100 ( 3.4)

89

100 ( 9.1)

3

100 ( 0.3)

972

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

27

14.2 (13.1)

112

22.6 (54.3)

46

28.3 (22.4)

5

15.7 ( 2.5)

16

17.6 ( 7.6)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

206

21.2 (100)

30 to 54

118

62.3 (26.1)

224

45.4 (49.6)

67

41.2 (14.8)

13

39.0 ( 2.9)

28

31.4 ( 6.2)

2

59.3 ( 0.4)

452

46.5 (100)

55 & over

35

18.6 (13.5)

127

25.7 (48.6)

46

28.5 (17.8)

14

40.9 ( 5.2)

38

42.2 (14.4)

1

40.7 ( 0.5)

261

26.8 (100)

Missing

9

4.9 (17.5)

31

6.3 (58.8)

3

2.0 ( 6.2)

1

4.3 ( 2.7)

8

8.8 (14.8)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

53

5.4 (100)

Total

190

100 (19.5)

494

100 (50.8)

163

100 (16.8)

33

100 ( 3.4)

89

100 ( 9.1)

3

100 ( 0.3)

972

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

32

16.7 (16.1)

96

19.4 (48.8)

42

25.7 (21.3)

11

31.9 ( 5.4)

16

18.5 ( 8.4)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

197

20.2 (100)

Midwest

45

23.8 (19.5)

124

25.0 (53.2)

28

17.4 (12.2)

4

11.8 ( 1.7)

31

35.0 (13.4)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

232

23.9 (100)

South

70

36.8 (20.8)

173

35.0 (51.6)

57

34.8 (16.9)

14

42.4 ( 4.2)

19

21.1 ( 5.6)

3

100 ( 0.9)

335

34.5 (100)

West

43

22.7 (20.7)

102

20.5 (48.9)

36

22.1 (17.3)

5

13.9 ( 2.2)

23

25.3 (10.8)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

208

21.4 (100)

Total

190

100 (19.5)

494

100 (50.8)

163

100 (16.8)

33

100 ( 3.4)

89

100 ( 9.1)

3

100 ( 0.3)

972

100 (100)

 

 

Table 9. Personal Willingness to Live Near a Transportation Route

Q21. Personally, I would be willing to live near a high-level radioactive waste transportation route.

Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

DK

Ref

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

17

1.80

130

13.40

322

33.14

473

48.62

28

2.87

2

0.16

972

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

12

66.5 ( 2.6)

99

76.3 (21.9)

137

42.7 (30.2)

195

41.2 (42.8)

10

36.1 ( 2.2)

2

100 ( 0.4)

455

46.8 (100)

Female

6

33.5 ( 1.1)

30

23.0 ( 5.8)

184

57.2 (35.9)

275

58.2 (53.6)

18

63.9 ( 3.5)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

513

52.8 (100)

Missing

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

1

0.7 (21.0)

0

0.1 ( 9.5)

3

0.6 (69.5)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

4

0.4 (100)

Total

17

100 ( 1.8)

130

100 (13.4)

322

100 (33.1)

473

100 (48.6)

28

100 ( 2.9)

2

100 ( 0.2)

972

100 (100)

Educational Level

High School or less

8

43.2 ( 1.5)

58

44.5 (11.5)

169

52.5 (33.5)

253

53.5 (50.1)

18

63.4 ( 3.5)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

505

52.0 (100)

Some college

6

33.6 ( 2.4)

33

25.0 (13.5)

84

26.0 (34.6)

116

24.6 (48.1)

2

7.8 ( 0.9)

1

69.3 ( 0.5)

242

24.9 (100)

College Graduate

4

23.3 ( 2.1)

37

28.2 (18.9)

56

17.3 (28.6)

90

19.0 (46.2)

8

27.3 ( 3.9)

0

30.7 ( 0.3)

195

20.0 (100)

Missing

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

3

2.3 ( 9.8)

14

4.3 (45.0)

13

2.8 (43.8)

0

1.6 ( 1.4)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

31

3.1 (100)

Total

17

100 ( 1.8)

130

100 (13.4)

322

100 (33.1)

473

100 (48.6)

28

100 ( 2.9)

2

100 ( 0.2)

972

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

3

15.6 ( 1.3)

18

13.6 ( 8.6)

82

25.4 (39.7)

96

20.3 (46.5)

8

28.1 ( 3.8)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

206

21.2 (100)

30 to 54

12

68.3 ( 2.6)

52

40.2 (11.6)

133

41.4 (29.5)

244

51.6 (53.9)

9

33.6 ( 2.1)

2

100 ( 0.4)

452

46.5 (100)

55 & over

3

16.1 ( 1.1)

49

37.7 (18.8)

90

27.9 (34.4)

108

22.9 (41.5)

11

38.3 ( 4.1)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

261

26.8 (100)

Missing

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

11

8.5 (20.9)

17

5.3 (32.4)

25

5.2 (46.6)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

53

5.4 (100)

Total

17

100 ( 1.8)

130

100 (13.4)

322

100 (33.1)

473

100 (48.6)

28

100 ( 2.9)

2

100 ( 0.2)

972

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

4

23.4 ( 2.1)

22

17.3 (11.4)

86

26.7 (43.8)

81

17.1 (41.1)

3

11.2 ( 1.6)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

197

20.2 (100)

Midwest

5

29.1 ( 2.2)

30

22.9 (12.8)

64

20.0 (27.7)

123

26.0 (53.0)

10

35.4 ( 4.3)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

232

23.9 (100)

South

5

31.4 ( 1.6)

47

36.5 (14.2)

107

33.2 (31.9)

167

35.4 (49.9)

6

23.2 ( 1.9)

2

100 ( 0.5)

335

34.5 (100)

West

3

16.1 ( 1.4)

31

23.4 (14.7)

65

20.1 (31.2)

101

21.4 (48.7)

8

30.2 ( 4.1)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

208

21.4 (100)

Total

17

100 ( 1.8)

130

100 (13.4)

322

100 (33.1)

473

100 (48.6)

28

100 ( 2.9)

2

100 ( 0.2)

972

100 (100)

 

 

Table 10a. Less Risk in Shipping Nuclear Waste than Gasoline or Industrial Chemicals

Q18a. There is less risk in shipping high-level radioactive wastes than in shipping gasoline or industrial chemicals. [Split Sample]

Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

DK

Ref

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

47

9.61

111

22.59

168

34.27

105

21.28

59

11.98

1

0.27

491

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

33

70.4 (13.9)

61

54.6 (25.3)

76

45.0 (31.6)

47

45.0 (19.7)

22

37.9 ( 9.3)

1

44.7 ( 0.2)

240

48.7 (100)

Female

14

28.7 ( 5.4)

50

45.0 (19.9)

92

54.7 (36.8)

57

55.0 (23.0)

37

62.1 (14.6)

1

55.3 ( 0.3)

250

50.9 (100)

Missing

0

1.0 (28.9)

1

0.5 (33.4)

1

0.4 (37.7)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

2

0.3 (100)

Total

47

100 ( 9.6)

111

100 (22.6)

168

100 (34.3)

105

100 (21.3)

59

100 (12.0)

1

100 ( 0.3)

491

100 (100)

Educational Level

High School or less

29

61.8 (10.8)

62

55.7 (22.9)

82

48.4 (30.2)

61

58.2 (22.5)

37

62.9 (13.7)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

270

55.0 (100)

Some college

7

14.7 ( 6.1)

21

18.6 (18.2)

48

28.3 (42.0)

25

23.6 (21.8)

13

21.7 (11.3)

1

55.3 ( 0.6)

113

23.1 (100)

College Graduate

10

20.8 (10.6)

24

21.3 (25.3)

36

21.4 (38.6)

17

16.1 (18.1)

6

10.8 ( 6.8)

1

44.7 ( 0.6)

93

19.0 (100)

Missing

1

2.7 ( 8.9)

5

4.5 (34.6)

3

2.0 (23.0)

2

2.0 (14.6)

3

4.6 (18.8)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

14

2.9 (100)

Total

47

100 ( 9.6)

111

100 (22.6)

168

100 (34.3)

105

100 (21.3)

59

100 (12.0)

1

100 ( 0.3)

491

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

9

18.4 ( 8.1)

27

24.6 (25.5)

35

20.7 (32.5)

29

27.7 (27.0)

7

12.4 ( 6.8)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

107

21.8 (100)

30 to 54

22

47.6 ( 9.3)

41

37.0 (17.0)

97

57.5 (40.0)

57

55.0 (23.8)

23

39.4 ( 9.6)

1

44.7 ( 0.2)

242

49.2 (100)

55 & over

16

33.0 (12.2)

37

33.5 (29.1)

33

19.5 (25.7)

16

15.0 (12.3)

26

43.6 (20.1)

1

55.3 ( 0.6)

128

26.0 (100)

Missing

0

1.0 ( 3.0)

5

4.9 (35.9)

4

2.4 (27.0)

2

2.3 (16.0)

3

4.6 (18.1)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

15

3.1 (100)

Total

47

100 ( 9.6)

111

100 (22.6)

168

100 (34.3)

105

100 (21.3)

59

100 (12.0)

1

100 ( 0.3)

491

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

13

28.0 (14.3)

16

14.2 (17.0)

39

23.1 (41.9)

16

15.3 (17.2)

8

14.2 ( 9.0)

1

44.7 ( 0.6)

93

18.9 (100)

Midwest

10

20.5 ( 7.9)

26

23.0 (20.8)

44

26.2 (35.9)

29

28.1 (23.9)

14

24.1 (11.5)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

123

25.0 (100)

South

16

34.4 ( 9.0)

47

42.2 (26.0)

60

35.4 (33.0)

31

30.0 (17.4)

26

43.7 (14.3)

1

55.3 ( 0.4)

181

36.7 (100)

West

8

17.1 ( 8.5)

23

20.6 (24.0)

26

15.3 (27.1)

28

26.6 (29.3)

11

18.0 (11.1)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

95

19.4 (100)

Total

47

100 ( 9.6)

111

100 (22.6)

168

100 (34.3)

105

100 (21.3)

59

100 (12.0)

1

100 ( 0.3)

491

100 (100)

 

 

Table 10b. More Risk in Shipping Nuclear Waste than Gasoline or Industrial Chemicals

Q18b. There is more risk in shipping high-level radioactive wastes than in shipping gasoline or industrial chemicals. [Split Sample]

Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

DK

Ref

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

160

33.25

193

40.07

80

16.74

10

2.02

38

7.82

1

0.11

481

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

64

39.8 (29.5)

88

45.8 (40.9)

44

54.5 (20.4)

5

46.8 ( 2.1)

15

40.4 ( 7.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

215

44.8 (100)

Female

94

59.0 (35.9)

104

54.0 (39.6)

37

45.5 (13.9)

5

49.1 ( 1.8)

22

59.6 ( 8.5)

1

100 ( 0.2)

263

54.6 (100)

Missing

2

1.2 (68.6)

0

0.2 (16.5)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

4.2 (14.9)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

3

0.6 (100)

Total

160

100 (33.3)

193

100 (40.1)

80

100 (16.7)

10

100 ( 2.0)

38

100 ( 7.8)

1

100 ( 0.1)

481

100 (100)

Educational Level

High School or less

88

55.2 (37.6)

99

51.3 (42.1)

24

29.5 (10.1)

7

74.6 ( 3.1)

17

45.0 ( 7.2)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

235

48.9 (100)

Some college

36

22.4 (27.9)

56

29.1 (43.7)

29

35.7 (22.4)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

7

19.4 ( 5.7)

1

100 ( 0.4)

128

26.7 (100)

College Graduate

29

18.2 (28.8)

33

17.3 (33.0)

25

31.3 (24.8)

2

21.2 ( 2.0)

12

30.7 (11.4)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

101

21.1 (100)

Missing

7

4.2 (41.5)

4

2.3 (26.9)

3

3.6 (17.9)

0

4.2 ( 2.5)

2

4.9 (11.3)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

16

3.4 (100)

Total

160

100 (33.3)

193

100 (40.1)

80

100 (16.7)

10

100 ( 2.0)

38

100 ( 7.8)

1

100 ( 0.1)

481

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

30

19.0 (30.9)

50

26.0 (50.7)

12

15.1 (12.3)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

6

16.2 ( 6.2)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

99

20.5 (100)

30 to 54

89

55.6 (42.2)

76

39.6 (36.1)

33

41.0 (15.7)

2

24.4 ( 1.1)

10

26.3 ( 4.7)

1

100 ( 0.2)

211

43.9 (100)

55 & over

29

18.1 (21.7)

52

27.0 (39.1)

30

36.8 (22.2)

7

70.0 ( 5.1)

16

42.4 (12.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

133

27.7 (100)

Missing

12

7.3 (30.7)

14

7.4 (37.8)

6

7.1 (15.0)

1

5.7 ( 1.4)

6

15.2 (15.1)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

38

7.9 (100)

Total

160

100 (33.3)

193

100 (40.1)

80

100 (16.7)

10

100 ( 2.0)

38

100 ( 7.8)

1

100 ( 0.1)

481

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

34

21.4 (32.8)

36

18.9 (35.0)

19

23.1 (17.9)

6

62.2 ( 5.8)

9

23.3 ( 8.4)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

104

21.6 (100)

Midwest

40

25.1 (36.8)

49

25.3 (44.6)

14

16.8 (12.4)

1

9.5 ( 0.8)

5

14.4 ( 4.9)

1

100 ( 0.5)

109

22.7 (100)

South

47

29.5 (30.4)

67

34.8 (43.3)

25

31.7 (16.5)

3

28.3 ( 1.8)

12

33.1 ( 8.0)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

155

32.2 (100)

West

38

24.0 (34.1)

40

21.0 (35.9)

23

28.4 (20.3)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

11

29.2 ( 9.8)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

113

23.4 (100)

Total

160

100 (33.3)

193

100 (40.1)

80

100 (16.7)

10

100 ( 2.0)

38

100 ( 7.8)

1

100 ( 0.1)

481

100 (100)

 

 

8. Attitudes about On-site Storage

An alternative to shipping nuclear waste to a temporary storage facility would be to store the waste on-site at the nuclear power plants. One item in the survey asked respondents if they thought the nuclear power industry could safely store high-level nuclear wastes at their power plants for the foreseeable future. Respondents were divided in their opinions on this issue with 40.1% recording agree or strongly agree responses and 40.0% recording disagree or strongly disagree responses (see Table 11). One-fifth of the respondents were uncertain.

Demographic differences were primarily in the "donít know" responses. College-educated respondents recorded 28.8% donít know responses compared to 14.8% of those with a high school education or less. Older respondents were more likely to say "donít know" to this item than younger respondents (23.1% versus 14.3%) and women were somewhat more likely than men to respond "donít know" to this statement (23.4% versus 16.1%).

9. Who Should Transport High-Level Nuclear Wastes?

A final question asked about the management of high-level nuclear wastes transportation. The following introduction was given:

Until recently, the Department of Energy had planned to directly manage the transportation of high-level radioactive wastes. Now, the Department has developed a plan to hire private companies to manage the transportation of these wastes.

Respondents were then asked if they would prefer contracting with private companies to manage the transportation or having the federal government manage the transportation. Half of the respondents (52.1%) said they preferred to have the federal government manage it (see Table 12). One-third (36.5%) preferred to have private companies manage the transportation and 11.4% said they didnít know who should manage it.

College-educated respondents were more likely to say DOE should contract with private companies than those with a high school education or less (44.0% versus 32.9%). Other demographic differences on this item were minor.

 

Table 11. Industry Ability to Store Safely On-Site

Q22. The nuclear power industry can safely store high-level radioactive wastes at their power plants for the foreseeable future.

Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly disagree

DK

Ref

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

40

4.16

349

35.95

297

30.56

91

9.36

189

19.47

5

0.50

972

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

21

51.4 ( 4.6)

174

49.6 (38.2)

149

50.2 (32.8)

38

42.0 ( 8.4)

72

38.0 (15.8)

1

27.6 ( 0.3)

455

46.8 (100)

Female

19

47.5 ( 3.7)

174

49.8 (33.9)

148

49.7 (28.8)

52

57.6 (10.2)

117

61.7 (22.8)

3

61.5 ( 0.6)

513

52.8 (100)

Missing

0

1.1 (10.5)

2

0.5 (43.7)

0

0.2 (10.5)

0

0.4 ( 9.5)

1

0.3 (13.7)

1

10.8 (12.1)

4

0.4 (100)

Total

40

100 ( 4.2)

349

100 (36.0)

297

100 (30.6)

91

100 ( 9.4)

189

100 (19.5)

5

100 ( 0.5)

972

100 (100)

Educational Level

High School or less

25

62.9 ( 5.0)

181

51.7 (35.7)

168

56.4 (33.2)

57

62.4 (11.2)

75

39.6 (14.8)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

505

52.0 (100)

Some college

8

20.5 ( 3.4)

89

25.3 (36.7)

72

24.3 (29.9)

16

17.3 ( 6.5)

55

28.9 (22.7)

2

41.4 ( 0.8)

242

24.9 (100)

College Graduate

5

12.1 ( 2.5)

73

20.8 (37.4)

46

15.5 (23.7)

15

16.1 ( 7.6)

54

28.4 (27.6)

2

47.7 ( 1.2)

195

20.0 (100)

Missing

2

4.5 ( 6.0)

8

2.2 (24.7)

11

3.7 (36.3)

4

4.1 (12.3)

6

3.1 (19.0)

1

10.8 ( 1.7)

31

3.1 (100)

Total

40

100 ( 4.2)

349

100 (36.0)

297

100 (30.6)

91

100 ( 9.4)

189

100 (19.5)

5

100 ( 0.5)

972

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

12

29.4 ( 5.8)

76

21.9 (37.1)

72

24.2 (35.0)

16

17.7 ( 7.8)

29

15.6 (14.3)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

206

21.2 (100)

30 to 54

19

47.4 ( 4.2)

162

46.5 (35.9)

130

43.6 (28.6)

50

55.2 (11.1)

89

47.1 (19.7)

2

37.9 ( 0.4)

452

46.5 (100)

55 & over

6

15.5 ( 2.4)

95

27.2 (36.4)

76

25.7 (29.3)

23

24.9 ( 8.7)

58

30.6 (22.2)

2

51.2 ( 0.9)

261

26.8 (100)

Missing

3

7.7 ( 5.9)

16

4.5 (29.5)

19

6.4 (36.0)

2

2.2 ( 3.8)

13

6.7 (23.9)

1

10.8 ( 1.0)

53

5.4 (100)

Total

40

100 ( 4.2)

349

100 (36.0)

297

100 (30.6)

91

100 ( 9.4)

189

100 (19.5)

5

100 ( 0.5)

972

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

6

15.6 ( 3.2)

61

17.3 (30.8)

66

22.3 (33.7)

21

22.6 (10.4)

43

22.7 (21.8)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

197

20.2 (100)

Midwest

8

19.2 ( 3.3)

89

25.3 (38.2)

55

18.7 (23.9)

25

27.8 (10.9)

55

28.8 (23.5)

1

10.8 ( 0.2)

232

23.9 (100)

South

16

39.5 ( 4.8)

126

35.9 (37.5)

110

37.0 (32.7)

29

32.4 ( 8.8)

52

27.6 (15.6)

2

45.5 ( 0.7)

335

34.5 (100)

West

10

25.6 ( 5.0)

75

21.4 (35.9)

65

22.0 (31.5)

16

17.2 ( 7.5)

40

20.9 (19.0)

2

43.6 ( 1.0)

208

21.4 (100)

Total

40

100 ( 4.2)

349

100 (36.0)

297

100 (30.6)

91

100 ( 9.4)

189

100 (19.5)

5

100 ( 0.5)

972

100 (100)

 

 

Table 12. Who Should Transport High-Level Nuclear Wastes?

Q23. Until recently, the Department of Energy had planned to directly manage the transportation of high-level radioactive wastes. Now, the Department has developed a plan to hire private companies to manage the transportation of these wastes. Would you prefer: Contracting with private companies to manage the transportation? Or having the federal government manage the transportation?

Contract w/ private companies

Have fed govít manage it

DK

Ref

Total

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Count

Col (Row)%

Total

355

36.49

507

52.15

97

9.96

14

1.40

972

100.00

Respondent sex

Male

176

49.6 (38.7)

240

47.3 (52.7)

32

33.1 ( 7.1)

7

51.6 ( 1.5)

455

46.8 (100)

Female

177

49.8 (34.5)

265

52.4 (51.7)

65

66.9 (12.6)

6

44.6 ( 1.2)

513

52.8 (100)

Missing

2

0.5 (42.6)

2

0.4 (45.2)

0

0.0 ( 0.0)

1

3.8 (12.1)

4

0.4 (100)

Total

355

100 (36.5)

507

100 (52.1)

97

100 ( 10.0)

14

100 ( 1.4)

972

100 (100)

Educational Level

High School or less

166

46.8 (32.9)

284

56.0 (56.1)

49

50.6 ( 9.7)

7

48.2 ( 1.3)

505

52.0 (100)

Some college

91

25.7 (37.8)

116

23.0 (48.2)

29

30.5 (12.2)

4

31.7 ( 1.8)

242

24.9 (100)

College Graduate

86

24.1 (44.0)

91

17.9 (46.6)

16

16.5 ( 8.2)

2

16.3 ( 1.1)

195

20.0 (100)

Missing

12

3.3 (38.1)

16

3.2 (52.4)

2

2.4 ( 7.7)

1

3.8 ( 1.7)

31

3.1 (100)

Total

355

100 (36.5)

507

100 (52.1)

97

100 ( 10.0)

14

100 ( 1.4)

972

100 (100)

Respondent age

18 to 29

75

21.2 (36.6)

123

24.2 (59.6)

7

7.7 ( 3.6)

0

2.6 ( 0.2)

206

21.2 (100)

30 to 54

157

44.4 (34.8)

243

48.0 (53.8)

46

47.9 (10.3)

5

39.5 ( 1.2)

452

46.5 (100)

55 & over

106

30.0 (40.8)

115

22.7 (44.1)

34

35.1 (13.0)

5

38.6 ( 2.0)

261

26.8 (100)

Missing

16

4.4 (29.3)

26

5.1 (48.8)

9

9.3 (17.0)

3

19.3 ( 5.0)

53

5.4 (100)

Total

355

100 (36.5)

507

100 (52.1)

97

100 ( 10.0)

14

100 ( 1.4)

972

100 (100)

Census region

Northeast

79

22.4 (40.3)

102

20.2 (52.1)

12

12.2 ( 6.0)

3

22.7 ( 1.6)

197

20.2 (100)

Midwest

82

23.0 (35.2)

116

23.0 (50.2)

31

31.7 (13.2)

3

24.8 ( 1.5)

232

23.9 (100)

South

126

35.6 (37.7)

178

35.1 (53.0)

30

31.3 ( 9.0)

1

5.6 ( 0.2)

335

34.5 (100)

West

67

19.0 (32.5)

110

21.7 (52.9)

24

24.7 (11.5)

6

46.8 ( 3.1)

208

21.4 (100)

Total

355

100 (36.5)

507

100 (52.1)

97

100 ( 10.0)

14

100 ( 1.4)

972

100 (100)

 

10. Conclusions

There is a clear difference between knowledge of Congressional legislation to establish a temporary high-level waste storage facility in Nevada and public support for such a program. Only about a third of those surveyed had heard about the proposed Congressional legislation and when selected aspects of the program were presented, two-thirds of these respondents opposed the program. These figures can change if such a program were to be put into effect. However, the current levels of strong opposition imply that the transportation component of the program will receive little public support and most likely will face high levels of scrutiny. This in turn will make it difficult to operate an efficient and timely transportation effort.

There is a broad range of concerns about high-level radioactive waste transport. This includes concern about personal economic losses, a strong aversion to being located near a transportation route, the judgment that waste transported on the highways would be a serious risk, and that waste shipments would be viewed as a target by terrorists.

The question about vulnerability of high-level radioactive waste shipments to terrorist attack was asked in an earlier 1989 survey with a differently worded question. The 1997 respondents consider an attack much more likely than the 1989 respondents did, which may be due partly to the difference in wording. Another condition that may influence these responses is the recent news media stories on terrorism in the US including the bombing of the New York Trade Center, the Oklahoma City federal courthouse bombing, and the trial of the Unabomber. The influence of these current news stories may be increased or decreased depending upon future terrorist events or their absence from the news. It seems likely, however, that some level of concern about terrorism and the vulnerability of nuclear materials including high-level radioactive wastes will exist for the foreseeable future.

The two questions about the risk of transporting high-level radioactive wastes versus gasoline and chemicals showed a strong influence of the question wording. We asked half the sample about "less" risk, and the other half about "more" risk for nuclear waste transport. In both cases a clear majority identified the nuclear waste shipments as a greater risk than gasoline or chemicals. However, when people were asked if the waste shipments were more risky the responses were almost 20 percentage points higher than when they were asked if the waste shipments were less risky (73.3% versus 55.6%). In future surveys using this line of questioning, some care should be taken to reconcile the differences shown in this response range. This might be done by using branching and follow-up questions to clarify the responses. The point in asking this type of question is to assess the publicís relative risk evaluation of waste transport vis-à-vis the shipment of other hazardous cargoes. Consideration should be given to other designs for obtaining better responses.

The question of who the public thinks should manage and administer the high-level radioactive waste transportation activities is an open question at this point. There is a preference for government responsibility but this is only by a narrow majority (52.1%). There is a sizable proportion of the respondents who said they didnít know who should manage the program and only about a third (36.5%) favored private contractors. Further examination of the basis for these responses should be made. One line of questions should be based upon the research about trust and distrust of the government and industry in the management of radioactive hazards. Concerns about the U.S. Department of Energy were outlined in the 1993 report by the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force on Radioactive Waste Management, Earning Public Trust and Confidence: Requisites for Managing Radioactive Wastes. The analysis and recommendation in this report could serve as a starting point for designing a public survey to further understand the public position on government and private managers for nuclear waste transport.

Overall, the results from this survey show that the public is not very well informed about proposed Congressional actions to locate an interim waste storage facility in Nevada and transport wastes from across the nation to that location. In addition, there is little support and strong levels of opposition expressed to the conditions that would exist with such a program. These survey results suggest that implementation of any such program will encounter public opposition, with the attendant possibilities of delay, unexpected costs, and further distrust of federal government efforts to manage high-level radioactive wastes.


Footnotes
1. U.S. Bureau of Census, Current Population Report, March 1993, pp. 20-476
2. Flynn, J., Slovic, P., & Mertz, C. K. (1994). Gender, race, and perception of environmental health risks. Risk Analysis, 14(6), 1101-1108.
3. Flynn, J., Slovic, P., & Mertz, C. K. (1990). Evaluations of Yucca Mountain survey findings about the attitudes, opinions, and evaluations of nuclear waste disposal and Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects/Nuclear Waste Project Office, Carson City, Nevada, Report No. NWPO-SE-029-90.

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