Support for Nuclear Power Drops Sharply in the U.S., Poll Says

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In the wake of the Japanese nuclear crisis, only 43 percent of Americans say they support construction of new nuclear plants, a steep drop from the 58 percent who said they approved of new plants in 2008, a CBS News poll shows.

While 7 in 10 Americans said they believe nuclear power is generally safe, only 35 percent said they believe the U.S. government is prepared for a nuclear emergency. Sixty-two percent said they would not support a new plant in their community.

Support for new plants is slightly lower than it was following the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, government officials in Tokyo have advised that infants should not drink tap water after unsafe levels of radioactive iodine were found in water samples. Iodine-131 was found at a level of 210 becquerels per liter, more than twice the safety standard of 100 becquerels for children. The safety standard for adults is 300 becquerels.

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