Promising poll numbers for nuclear from Australia

June 7, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

A new poll out from the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), a Melbourne, Australia–based free-market think tank, finds that a majority of Australians favor the construction of nuclear power plants in their country.

Conducted April 18–20 by research and marketing firm Dynata, the poll asked 1,005 people whether they agreed or disagreed with the following: “Australia should build nuclear power plants to supply electricity and reduce carbon emissions.”

The statement received a nod from 53 percent of respondents, with 24 percent neither agreeing nor disagreeing and 23 percent disagreeing.

The poll also found that:

  • 70 percent of Coalition voters support construction; 13 percent oppose. (In Australia, the Coalition consists of the two major center-right political parties, the Liberals and the Nationals.)
  • 52 percent of Labor voters support construction; 27 percent oppose.
  • 44 percent of Greens voters support construction; 30 percent oppose. (“The Greens” is the name of Australia’s Green party.)
  • 52 percent of those aged 18–24 and under support construction; 19 percent oppose.
  • 47 percent of those aged 25–54 support construction; 25 percent oppose.
  • 62 percent of those aged 55 and over support construction; 23 percent oppose.
  • 71 percent of those earning A$100,000 (about US$71,800) and over support construction; 16 percent oppose.
  • 55 percent of those earning between A$45,000 and A$99,999 support construction; 22 percent oppose.
  • 49 percent of those earning less than A$45,000 support construction; 25 percent oppose.

What they’re saying: “Prime Minister Anthony Albanese [Labor Party head] and opposition leader Peter Dutton [Liberal Party head] should come together and show leadership to repeal the ban on nuclear power in Australia, which can provide low-cost and reliable baseload power,” said Daniel Wild, director of research at the IPA, in a June 6 media release. “New Nationals leader David Littleproud was spot on when he said earlier this week that Australia must have a ‘mature conversation’ about the future of nuclear power in Australia. The current energy crisis in Australia is a design feature of a net-zero emissions by 2050 target that will only be solved by reliable, affordable baseload power from coal and nuclear.”

Context: Although it’s the world’s second-largest uranium producer, Australia currently bans nuclear power production under the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act of 1998 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999. The laws prohibit the construction or operation of nuclear power plants, nuclear fuel fabrication plants, enrichment plants, and reprocessing facilities.

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