Support for nuclear in South Australia

07 April 2014

More South Australians support the use of nuclear energy than oppose it, according to a new public opinion poll. The majority of respondents also expressed support for uranium mining in the state.

The poll - conducted by market research company ReachTel on behalf of the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (Sacome) - questioned 1216 randomly-selected South Australians on their attitudes towards uranium mining and nuclear energy.

Some 48% of respondents said they supported the use of nuclear energy, while 33% were opposed to it. The remaining 19% were undecided.

Sacome chief executive Jason Kuchel commented, "A key aspect of responses to this question was the level of strong opinions expressed, with 29% strongly supporting and only 20% strongly opposing nuclear power - in other words, there are more staunchly pro-nuclear than anti-nuclear advocates."

When asked to consider the current debate about climate change, 63% of those questioned saw nuclear power as either being an important contributor or as an alternative to be considered while only 23% said they saw nuclear energy playing no role in fighting climate change. Some 45% of respondents considered nuclear energy as a "sustainable and environmentally sound power alternative," while 35% disagreed.

The survey results indicated that more than half of respondents (54%) think that nuclear power will eventually be introduced into Australia, while 22% disagreed.

Uranium mining

The survey also found a high level of support for uranium mining within South Australia with 55% of those questioned backing it and only 25% opposing it. A similar number of respondents said that they either supported or opposed the further development of uranium mining in the state.

South Australia is home to three of Australia's four operating uranium mines - Olympic Dam, Beverley and Honeymoon, the other being Ranger in Northern Territory. Although Australia is a major uranium producer and has a long history of nuclear technology research, the country has never operated a nuclear power plant. Almost three-quarters of the country's electricity is currently generated by coal-powered plants.

Kuchel said that the results of this survey "sends a clear message to our politicians: South Australians want to see the possibility of nuclear power at least considered for future use, and put on the agenda for discussion."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News