South Australia’s peak mining and energy body has found that a greater number of people in the state support nuclear power than oppose it, and are calling for a mature debate around the industry.
Commissioned by the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME), 1,216 randomly selected South Australians were quizzed on their attitudes towards uranium and nuclear power.
SACOME says 48 per cent support nuclear power while only 33 per cent recorded any level of opposition.
“A key aspect of responses to this question was the level of strong opinions expressed, with 29 per cent strongly supporting and only 20 per cent strongly opposing nuclear power - in other words, there are more staunchly pro-nuclear than anti-nuclear advocates,” Chief of SACOME, Jason Kuchel, said.
The SACOME survey also asked respondents to consider the current debate about climate change and indicate what role they saw nuclear power playing in Australia. 63 per cent of people saw nuclear playing some role in the future of Australia’s electricity supply.
“It seems South Australians see nuclear power as an inevitable, sustainable and environmentally sound alternative, and are pragmatic when it comes to forming opinions on the matter,” Kuchel said.
“SACOME sees a future role also for the new generation of small modular reactors to provide power to remote mining projects, utilising our abundant uranium resources and providing zero carbon power.”
Kuchel is calling for a mature debate around policy measures that will assist in removing the road blocks in developing a nuclear power industry.
He says the survey results send a clear message to politicians that South Australia want to see the possibility of nuclear power considered for future use.
The issue surrounding the nuclear industry, and the steps required for seeing its introduction in Australia is a focus of the latest issue of the SA Mines & Energy Journal.
International companies said they would welcome a revision of current policies and said Australia would become a serious place of business interest if prohibitions on uranium and nuclear are reduced.
Last year the Australian Uranium Association said a commitment to becoming the world’s top uranium producer coupled with a policy framework are two fundamental issues that need addressing in Australia’s uranium debate.
The AUA wants to see uranium treated with the same policy requirements for the resource industry as a whole.
It says “chequered policy settings” and a lack of a “national political consensus” has hampered its wide-scale production.