Every two years, Southern Nuclear conducts a survey of each plant’s immediate neighbors to measure the community’s favorability toward the plant, their opinions about nuclear energy and the public’s level of knowledge. On behalf of each site, Bisconti Research, a public opinion and communications research firm, polled 300 individuals residing within each plant’s 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone. The results are then benchmarked with NEI’s national survey of residents living within 10 miles of the nation’s 59 nuclear sites and can be compared with each plant’s previous five surveys that span 10 years.
As with surveys in previous years, community support for the SNC fleet remains strong with most metrics meeting or exceeding national benchmarks. On average, 90 percent of residents polled possess favorable impressions and 82 percent rated the plants as being operated safely. The overall support is broad, spanning most demographics including age groups, gender and political affiliations.
“These are the people that know us best, and their opinions can have real results that shape policy decisions and regulations,” according to Ryan Dean, communications supervisor. “To build and maintain this level of support you need a track record of safe and reliable operations, recognized benefits to the local economy and the type of involvement that our employees pour into the community.”
According to the survey, not only are plant neighbors pleased with the current operations of each plant, they see nuclear energy as part of their future. License renewal is favored by an average of 92 percent, and 71 percent of Plant Vogtle’s neighbors support the continued construction of Vogtle 3&4.
Lastly, the results highlight the value placed upon our employees as accurate and reliable sources of information. Each community ranked employees as one of the top two sources for information.
“Our employees are engaged in leadership roles throughout the community,” explains Sara Waters, communications coordinator at Plant Hatch. “They have strong relationships they’ve built through raising families in these areas and participating in schools, athletics and civic organizations. The trust they’ve built through those efforts is why they are so highly regarded.”