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Some issues with the energy minister’s claim that nuclear is just ‘hot air’

By Graham Young - posted Wednesday, 6 March 2024

If you can't be a good leader, then being a good follower is just as good.

It seems at last that the Australian people have come around to the question of nuclear energy, judging by the latest Newspoll.

With that, Australia's Energy Minister Chris Bowen should follow them.


According to Newspoll, 55 percent of Australians support using small modular reactors, while 31 percent oppose it.

Significantly, the highest support at 65 percent was amongst Australians 18-34, the group that is most environmentally conscious, and also most likely to vote Labor or Greens.

Support has been building for a while, but Labor continues to oppose it.

My think tank did a poll on nuclear three years ago. While our sample doesn't allow for the same absolute degree of accuracy as Newspoll, it found that 47 percent supported nuclear while 39 percent opposed it.

Much of the support three years ago was because thinking Australians had concluded that it was impossible to run a grid on wind and solar energy, and therefore impossible to meet net zero, or anything like it, without the only non-emitting baseload source of power-nuclear-in the mix.

I suspected before that that attitudes had changed through conversations with left-leaning, particularly female, friends who had reluctantly come to the conclusion nuclear was inevitable to fight climate change.


The change of mood was confirmed for me when the USS Ronald Reagan, powered by two 70 MW nuclear power generators, was berthed for a couple of weeks in the Brisbane River without fear or even comment in 2019.

People even toured the ship with two small modular nuclear reactors humming around them, and keeping the lights on.

In the 60s at the height of anti-nuclear hysteria, there would have been a flotilla of rainbow-decorated kayaks and surf skis trying to block the ship from berthing. In the 2000s-nothing.

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This article was first published by the Epoch Times.

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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.

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