Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Star Wars or Hobbiton: where does Australia stand on nuclear?

By Graham Young - posted Thursday, 25 May 2023

The AUKUS submarines have already performed their first stealth mission, inserting the question of nuclear power back into the national conversation-this time as a practical possibility.

When he was defence minister, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton was partly responsible for the decision to buy eight nuclear power submarines. Now in his speech-in-reply to the budget, he is suggesting nuclear as an option for powering Australia's electricity network.

It is a smart move, not as courageous as it looks, but still brave. It gives him a way into the climate change debate without giving-in to fantasy.


While only 31 countries have nuclear reactors to generate domestic power, Australia is one of the only four that has an outright ban on them.

Why we have banned it defies logic, but it has deep psychological roots arising from its military uses, as well as safety concerns born out of a few nuclear mishaps such as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.

There is also Australia's experience as a nuclear weapons testing site, when the British detonated devices at Maralinga, as well as the French government's tests at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia.

Nevertheless, the ban has always been a little illogical.

Australia has the largest reserves of global uranium, with a total of one-third of the world's known resources, and in 2021 was the world's fourth largest producer, mining nine percent of world production.

So we won't use it, but we will produce it.


We have also had a nuclear reactor in operation at Lucas Heights in Sydney since 1958, when the first reactor was turned-on. This is a research reactor in southwest Sydney, 31 kilometres from the CBD, which also produces medical and industrial isotopes.

Renewables Alone Not Feasible

Polling numbers have shown nuclear power was unpopular until recently.

In 2011, a Lowy Institute poll showed 62 percent against and only 35 percent for. In 2021, this had changed to 52 percent in favour.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. All

A version of this article was first published in the Epoch Times.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

5 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Graham Young

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Graham Young
Article Tools
Comment 5 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy