Nuclear boosters now in meltdown

Mar 22, 2011

First published on The Drum: 22/03/2011

Beyond its gob-smacking human tragedy and the looming economic catastrophe, the Japanese tsunami has thrown a radioactive wildcard into the global debate over climate change.

The fallout from the meltdown of Japanese nuclear reactors will undermine the until-now successful attempts by the nuclear industry to reposition itself as part of the global warming solution.

As this week’s Essential Report shows, the public had been coming around to the idea that developing nuclear power in Australia was acceptable. This has changed dramatically over the past seven days with one quarter of all Australians changing their position.

Q. Do you support or oppose Australia developing nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity?


27 Jan 09 20 Dec 10 Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Total support 43% 43% 35% 29% 46% 18%
Total oppose 35% 37% 53% 58% 43% 78%
Strongly support 14% 16% 12% 10% 17% 7%
Support 29% 27% 23% 19% 29% 11%
Oppose 21% 21% 21% 23% 22% 15%
Strongly oppose 14% 16% 32% 35% 21% 63%
Don’t know 22% 19% 13% 13% 11% 5%

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Nuclear Power Plants

Mar 21, 2011

Q. Do you support or oppose Australia developing nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity?

27 Jan 09 20 Dec 10 Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Total support 43% 43% 35% 29% 46% 18%
Total oppose 35% 37% 53% 58% 43% 78%
Strongly support 14% 16% 12% 10% 17% 7%
Support 29% 27% 23% 19% 29% 11%
Oppose 21% 21% 21% 23% 22% 15%
Strongly oppose 14% 16% 32% 35% 21% 63%
Don’t know 22% 19% 13% 13% 11% 5%

53% oppose Australia developing nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity and 35% support. This is a considerable shift in opinion since this question was last asked in December 2010.

Those that intend to vote Lib/Nat were more likely to support (46%) than oppose (43%)  Australia developing nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity.

There was strong opposition from Labor (58% oppose or strongly oppose) and the Greens (78% oppose or strongly oppose).

There is a considerable difference between the attitudes of males and females towards nuclear power plants – 49% of males, compared to just 20% of females support or strongly support Australia developing nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity.

There was also strong support from those aged 65+, with 47% either supporting or strongly supporting Australia developing nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity.

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