New research conducted by JWS Research and reported in The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald finds more Australians support lifting the ban on the use of nuclear power than oppose it.
The research was commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and conducted in early to mid-October 2019 including focus groups in Sydney and Melbourne and a quantitative survey of 1500 Australians. The survey found 40 per cent of Australians support lifting the ban on nuclear power in Australia and 39 per cent support the use of nuclear power in Australia.
Results show that more than half those surveyed – 54 per cent – are unaware nuclear power is banned in Australia. Federal Parliament banned nuclear power in 1998, and the moratorium has remained in place ever since. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Energy is currently investigating the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia.
Opposition to both the use of nuclear power in Australia and lifting the ban was 33 per cent. A further 29 per cent of people were either neutral or unsure about the use of nuclear power in Australia, with 26 per cent either neutral or unsure on lifting the ban.
The MCA argues that one prerequisite for nuclear power, community support, could be achieved if the public are properly informed about the technology. “The more people learn about it, the greater the support for nuclear energy,” said Minerals Council chief executive Tania Constable.
Results from the research show support for nuclear energy rising to 47 per cent when respondents are presented a range of positive and negative factors of nuclear power. Support for nuclear power grew to 55 per cent when survey participants were asked whether they would accept lifting the nuclear power ban in Australia if they knew that a majority of Australians supported it.
MCA Chief Tania Constable argues that these results should encourage action, “Any government serious about addressing climate change must be looking at nuclear, the zero-emissions foundation of electricity systems across the globe.”