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A narrow majority of Australians want to develop nuclear power to reduce carbon dioxide emissions

A narrow majority of 51% (up 16% since July 2011) of respondents say Australia should develop nuclear power to reduce Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions. Just over a third 34% (down 24%) say no, Australia shouldn’t, while 15% (up 8%) can’t say.
A special online Roy Morgan survey conducted in mid-September finds:

  • A narrow majority of 51% (up 16% since July 2011) of respondents say Australia should develop nuclear power to reduce Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions. Just over a third 34% (down 24%) say no, Australia shouldn’t, while 15% (up 8%) can’t say.
  • However, without the reference to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, only 45% (up 11% since March 2011) of respondents say Australia should develop nuclear power plants to supply electricity to Australians while 40% (down 21%) say no, Australia shouldn’t, and 15% (up 10%) can’t say.
  • If Australia were to develop nuclear power plants a majority of 58% (down 17% since March 2011) of respondents would oppose a nuclear power plant being built in their area while 42% (up 17%) wouldn’t oppose. Of those who wouldn’t oppose 23% (up 10%) would be anxious about the nuclear power plant being built and 19% (up 7%) would agree to it being built in their area.
  • Just under two-fifths of respondents 38% (up 1% since March 2011) agree that other countries should build nuclear power plants compared to 35% (down 14%) that say other countries shouldn’t build nuclear power plants and 27% (up 13%) can’t say.
  • A record low 50% of respondents (down 9% since March 2011) say that Australia should export uranium to other countries for peaceful purposes compared to just over a quarter, 27% (down 7%) that say Australia shouldn’t export and 23% (up 16%) can’t say.
  • The nation is evenly split on whether to export Uranium to other countries for their nuclear power needs with 41% (down 3% since March 2011) saying that Australia should export uranium to other countries for their nuclear power needs and 41% (down 9%) saying Australia shouldn’t export and 18% (up 12%) can’t say.
  • A solid majority of 69% of Australians support the refining and exporting of radioactive materials mined in Australia for use in the health services industry compared to only 12% who do not while the remaining 19% can’t say.

Survey reveals massive gender split on nuclear power and uranium

Although a bare majority of 51% of respondents say Australia should develop nuclear power to reduce Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions analysis by gender reveals this level of support is driven by men (65% support) rather than women (38% support).

This same gender split is replicated on all the questions asked as part of this survey.

‘If the worries about carbon dioxide are a real problem, many suggest that the cleanest energy source Australia can use is nuclear power. Do you support Australia developing nuclear power to reduce Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions or not?’
  • Women: Yes (38%) cf. No (40%) cf. Can’t say (22%);
  • Men: Yes (65%) cf. No (28%) cf. Can’t say (7%).

‘Do you believe Australia should develop nuclear power plants to supply electricity to Australia?’
  • Women: Yes (31%) cf. No (49%) cf. Can’t say (20%);
  • Men: Yes (59%) cf. No (31%) cf. Can’t say (10%).

‘If Australia were to develop nuclear power plants, would you agree to a nuclear power plant being built in your area, would you feel anxious about it but not oppose it, or oppose a nuclear power plant being built in your area?’
  • Women: TOTAL – Would not oppose (28%) cf. Would oppose (72%);
  • Men: TOTAL – Would not oppose (55%) cf. Would oppose (45%).

‘In your opinion should other countries build nuclear power plants or not?’
  • Women: Yes (21%) cf. No (45%) cf. Can’t say (34%);
  • Men: Yes (55%) cf. No (25%) cf. Can’t say (20%).

‘Should Australia export uranium to other countries for peaceful purposes?’
  • Women: Yes (35%) cf. No (32%) cf. Can’t say (33%);
  • Men: Yes (65%) cf. No (23%) cf. Can’t say (12%).

‘Should Australia export uranium to other countries for their nuclear power needs?’
  • Women: Yes (22%) cf. No (52%) cf. Can’t say (26%);
  • Men: Yes (61%) cf. No (30%) cf. Can’t say (9%).

‘Do you support the refining and exporting of radioactive minerals mined in Australia for use in the health services industry or not?’
  • Women: Yes (56%) cf. No (17%) cf. Can’t say (27%);
  • Men: Yes (82%) cf. No (9%) cf. Can’t say (10%).

Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman, Roy Morgan says:

“Australian views on nuclear power have changed significantly over the last eight years with a majority of 51% now supporting the development of nuclear power in Australia to reduce carbon dioxide emissions – up a significant 16ppts from July 2011.

“However, support drops to only 45% in favour of developing nuclear power plants if reducing carbon dioxide emissions isn’t mentioned as a reason to consider this form of energy generation.

“The survey does reveal a striking difference between the views of women and men on the issue of nuclear power. Clear majorities of men are in favour of all seven questions asked whether developing nuclear power, exporting uranium or the refining and exporting of radioactive materials mined in Australia for use in the health services industry.

“The situation is reversed for women with minorities of women supporting the development of nuclear power and exporting uranium. There is a bare majority of 56% that do support the refining and exporting of radioactive minerals for use in the health services industry though – the only question that elicits a positive response from a majority of women.

“This stark divide between the two sexes indicates the difficulty facing any policy-maker attempting to develop an on-shore nuclear power industry in Australia. The issues surrounding nuclear power are incredibly divisive – even within households.

“The Australian Workers’ Union recently announced a split with Labor on the issue and came out in support of developing nuclear power plants in Australia to provide reliable base-load power without the carbon dioxide emissions of fossil fuel powered electricity generation.

“The results of this special survey into nuclear power suggest that the AWU, or indeed any Government looking to develop nuclear power plants in Australia, must do much more work to convince the public of the benefits of the technology.”

This special online survey on Australian attitudes to Global Warming was conducted from September 11-15, 2019 with an Australia-wide sample of 1,006 Australians aged 18-64 years old. In addition to undertaking customised surveys Roy Morgan conducts in-depth personal interviews with over 1,000 Australians a week and over 50,000 Australians each year in their homes as part of the Roy Morgan Single Source Survey.

 

Uranium & Nuclear Power in Australia

Question 1:

“Should Australia export Uranium to other countries for peaceful purposes?”

All Australians

Aug

77

Sep

77

Jul

78

Apr

79

Jul

82

Jul

83

Nov

83

Apr

84

Jun

91

Mar

11

Sep 11-15,
2019

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, export uranium

59

57

59

54

66

66

66

65

62

59

50

No, don’t export uranium

28

30

27

32

25

26

23

29

31

34

27

Can’t say

13

13

14

14

9

8

11

6

7

7

23

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Sep 11-15, 2019

Gender

Age

All
Australians

Female

Male

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, export uranium

50

35

65

38

51

48

57

No, don’t export uranium

27

32

23

22

27

31

27

Can’t say

23

33

12

40

23

20

16

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Sep 11-15, 2019

City/Country

States

All
Australians

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, export uranium

50

49

53

52

45

45

56

57

45

No, don’t export uranium

27

28

27

25

31

32

18

17

46

Can’t say

23

23

20

23

24

23

26

26

9

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 50 respondents should be treated with caution.


Question 2:

“Should Australia export Uranium to other countries for their Nuclear Power needs?”

All Australians

Gender

Age

Mar
11

Sep 11-15,
2019

Female

Male

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, export uranium

44

41

22

61

35

42

39

47

No, don’t export uranium

50

41

52

30

38

39

44

41

Can’t say

6

18

26

9

27

19

17

12

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

All
Australians

City/Country

States

Sep 11-15,
2019

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, export uranium

41

40

45

42

37

40

49

47

29

No, don’t export uranium

41

42

39

42

45

44

31

26

61

Can’t say

18

18

16

16

18

16

20

27

10

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 50 respondents should be treated with caution.


Question 3:

“Do you believe Australia should develop nuclear power plants to supply electricity to Australia?”

All Australians

Gender

Age

Sep
79

Mar
11

Sep 11-15,
2019

Female

Male

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, develop nuclear plants

52

34

45

31

59

37

43

41

55

No, don’t develop nuclear plants

35

61

40

49

31

47

36

45

34

Can’t say

13

5

15

20

10

16

21

14

11

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

All
Australians

City/Country

States

Sep 11-15,
2019

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, develop nuclear plants

45

44

47

51

43

42

46

46

14

No, don’t develop nuclear plants

40

42

36

34

45

44

35

30

81

Can’t say

15

14

17

15

12

14

19

24

5

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 50 respondents should be treated with caution.


Question 4:

“If Australia were to develop nuclear power plants, would you agree to a nuclear power plant being built in your area, would you feel anxious about it but not oppose it, or oppose a nuclear power plant being built in your area?”

All Australians

Gender

Age

Sep
79

Mar
11

Sep 11-15,
2019

Female

Male

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Would agree to it being built in my area

20

12

19

8

29

17

17

19

21

Anxious, but would not oppose it

24

13

23

20

26

26

26

19

23

TOTAL Would not oppose it

44

25

42

28

55

43

43

38

44

Would oppose it being built in my area

56

75

58

72

45

58

57

62

56

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

All
Australians

City/Country

States

Sep 11-15,
2019

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Would agree to it being built in my area

19

17

22

21

17

16

16

20

10

Anxious, but would not oppose it

23

23

22

24

21

21

26

35

4

TOTAL Would not oppose it

42

40

44

45

38

37

42

55

14

Would oppose it being built in my area

58

60

56

55

62

63

58

45

86

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 50 respondents should be treated with caution.


Question 5:

“In your opinion should other countries build nuclear power plants or not?”

All Australians

Gender

Age

Mar
11

Sep 11-15,
2019

Female

Male

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, build nuclear plants

37

38

21

55

32

39

37

41

No, don’t build nuclear plants

49

35

45

25

41

34

37

31

Can’t say

14

27

34

20

27

27

26

28

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

All
Australians

City/Country

States

Sep 11-15,
2019

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, build nuclear plants

38

38

38

42

36

37

38

35

17

No, don’t build nuclear plants

35

35

36

29

38

41

36

27

55

Can’t say

27

27

26

29

26

22

26

38

28

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 50 respondents should be treated with caution.


Question 6:

“If the worries about carbon dioxide are a real problem. Many suggest that the cleanest energy source Australia can use is nuclear power. Do you support Australia developing nuclear power to reduce Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions or not?”

All Australians

Gender

Age

June
11

July
11

Sep 11-15,
2019

Female

Male

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, develop nuclear power

36

35

51

38

65

52

51

47

55

No, don’t develop nuclear power

59

58

34

40

28

26

33

39

33

Can’t say

5

7

15

22

7

22

16

14

12

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

All
Australians

City/Country

States

Sep 11-15,
2019

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, develop nuclear power

51

51

51

55

47

49

56

55

40

No, don’t develop nuclear power

34

34

34

28

38

38

34

27

55

Can’t say

15

15

15

17

15

13

10

18

5

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 50 respondents should be treated with caution.


Question 7:

“Do you support the refining and exporting of radioactive minerals mined in Australia for use in the health services industry or not?”

All Australians

Gender

Age

Sep 11-15,
2019

Female

Male

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

69

56

82

59

69

67

77

No, not

12

17

8

16

11

13

10

Can’t say

19

27

10

25

20

20

13

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

All
Australians

City/Country

States

Sep 11-15,
2019

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

69

68

72

71

66

65

69

73

73

No, not

12

13

11

11

15

16

6

10

10

Can’t say

19

19

17

18

19

19

25

17

17

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes with fewer than 50 respondents should be treated with caution.

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2