New polling: Australians say fire up the nukes

Charles Pier

Getty Images

Charles Pier

28 September 2021

This is one of those bonus weeks for poll wonks when we get a Newspoll on Monday and the fortnightly Essential Research poll just 24 hours later.

Essential’s topics can vary and this week they’ve got a beauty. They haven’t just asked about support for the AUKUS/nuclear submarines announcement (a solid majority are in favour). They’ve also asked about nuclear-generated electricity.

In a fascinating development, 50 per cent of Australians support the idea while 32 per cent are opposed.

Interestingly, while the strongest support for nuclear power is found among the over 55s, there are solid blocks of younger voters prepared to entertain the concept — indicating a recognition of the significance of nuclear energy in maintaining reliable baseload power and the limits of renewables.

Indeed, the Essential Poll shows that as many as 29 per cent of Australians would support the use of nuclear energy “to establish Australia’s nuclear weapon capabilities”. That’s a fascinating result.

The simplistic nuclear taboos of the past are crumbling as Australians recognise both the challenges of providing reliable electricity and our strategic environment.

No one’s talking about nuclear weapons but the time is clearly ripe to begin serious policy discussions on nuclear energy.

Australians are ready. Can our politicians please catch up. Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

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