Australia’s Nuclear Power Dilemma

by Caroline Chmiel

Environmentalists in Australia strongly see nuclear energy as a crucial alternative to burning fossil fuels, especially because of its low-carbon emissions. A study conducted in in 2010, and then again in 2011 reveals the Australian public’s changing views on nuclear power in relation to climate change. Post-Fukushima, the majority of respondents (40%) said they would not accept nuclear power as an option to help tackle climate change, though most Australians still believed nuclear power to be a cleaner, more efficient option than coal which dominates their energy production. Previously, the survey in 2010 showed a majority (42%) responding with a sentiment of willingness to accept nuclear power if it would help address climate change. Continue reading

Aftermath of Fukushima: Public Opinion of Nuclear Power in Australia

by Cameron Bernhardt

Deciding the future of nuclear power generation is relatively high on the agenda of many countries around the world. Like all electricity generation technologies, nuclear power possesses notable advantages and disadvantages relative to other generation methods. Some of the most commonly recognized advantages of nuclear power are its low operating costs, security of supply, and the low air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that it produces. Conversely, issues of water use and waste disposal are often deterrents to the development of nuclear generation. In addition, the risk of nuclear accidents is a persistent threat to nuclear support, especially after incidents such as the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011. In an effort to characterize the Australian public’s views toward nuclear power in relation to climate change and other alternative energy sources, Bird et al. (2014) analyzed random sample surveys to draw conclusions about these attitudes. These surveys were administered in March 2010 and February 2012, 12 months prior to Fukushima and 11 months following, respectively. Continue reading