The most recent AFR/ Freshwater Strategy poll finds nuclear energy has stronger support than coal-fired power, and there is net public backing to lift the moratorium and allow it to be considered as part of the mix.
The poll of 1,003 eligible voters in Australia, aged 18 and above, was conducted online from September 22nd to 24th.
Support for Energy Sources
When asked if Australia needs nuclear power, 37 per cent agree, and 36 per cent disagree. Solar energy leads as the preferred energy source, with 84 per cent support. Coal (33%) and nuclear (35 %) are the least popular energy sources. There has been no significant change in levels of support for different energy technologies since May.
Attitudes Towards Nuclear Power & Nuclear Reactors
Around one in four voters would tolerate a nuclear plant within 50km of their home, while a majority (53%) would oppose it.
The majority of Australians (55 %) say they are concerned about the safety of nuclear power. Close to half of Australians (45 %) say that they believe the government should consider SMRs as part of the future energy mix. Meanwhile, a similar proportion (44%) say Australia should remove its ban on nuclear power development, up 2pts since the May AFR/ Freshwater poll.
Trade-Off Nuclear Replacing Coal Earlier
The poll shows that most Australians say that they would prefer Australia builds more nuclear power plants if it meant that the lifetime of some coal plants were reduced (44%), just ahead of the proportion who say they would rather Australia does not build any nuclear plants and some coal plants should be extended (38%).
Nuclear-Coal Trade-Off By Primary Vote
A majority of Coalition supports (53%) say that they would prefer Australia build nuclear power plants if it meant some coal power plants were replaced earlier, as do 43% of Labor supporters and one third of Greens (31%).
There is significant variation by demographic groups, with a majority of men (55%) in favour, while more women would rather no nuclear is built and some coal plants lifetime is extended (41%).
Best Option For Energy Generation In Australia, By Primary Vote
Transition to 100% renewables is more strongly supported by Labor (62%) and Greens (78%) supporters. Meanwhile, Coalition voters are divided on the best option for energy generation in Australia, split between 100% renewables (35%, up 4pts since May), nuclear (32%, up 4pts since May), and gas & coal (23%, down 6pts since May).
An article by the Australian Financial Review, featuring these results can be found here.
Methodology Note & Contact:
Freshwater Strategy interviewed n=1,003 eligible voters in Australia, aged 18+ online, between 22-24 September. Data are weighted to be representative of voters.
For comment, additional analysis, or a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, please get in touch.