Dutton unveils seven proposed nuclear sites for Australia

nuclear power stacks next to transmission tower
Image: Shutterstock

Australian opposition leader Peter Dutton says the Liberal National Party will build seven nuclear power stations if elected into government.

Dutton says the nuclear sites would be operational between 2035 and 2037, despite reports indicating otherwise.

The proposed nuclear power stations will all be built on retiring or retired coal sites:

  • Liddell Power Station, New South Wales
  • Mount Piper Power Station, New South Wales
  • Loy Yang Power Stations, Victoria
  • Tarong Power Station, Queensland
  • Callide Power Station, Queensland
  • Northern Power Station, South Australia (SMR only)
  • Muja Power Station, Western Australia (SMR only).

Related article: Report: Nuclear SMRs ‘too expensive, too slow, and too risky’

“Each of these locations offer important technical attributes needed for a zero-emissions nuclear plant, including cooling water capacity and transmission infrastructure, that is, we can use the existing poles and wires, along with a local community which has a skilled workforce,” Dutton said.

“A key advantage of modern zero-emissions nuclear plants is they can be plugged into existing grids. This means they can effectively replace retired or retiring coal plants and avoid much of the new spending needed for Labor’s ‘renewables-only’ system, including new transmission poles and wires. All of which will be passed on in the form of higher bills.

“A zero-emissions nuclear power plant will be a national asset delivering cheaper, cleaner and consistent energy for 80 years.”

The plan was described as a “recipe for delay and skyrocketing energy bills” by Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton.

“Australia has no nuclear power industry, so building new reactors would take at least 20 years and cost six times more,” he said.

“This is a policy that would deliver nothing for at least 20 years, result in much higher power prices and risk the lights going out as coal power stations continue to close.

“No Australian community wants a nuclear reactor on its doorstep and no Australian family wants to share communities and roads with truckloads of nuclear waste.

“As ageing and increasingly costly coal-fired power stations exit our energy system, only renewables firmed by storage is capable of preventing blackouts and power price spikes no family or business can afford.”

Related article: Nuclear six times more expensive than renewables

IEEFA Australia CEO Amandine Denis Ryan also cast doubt on the feasibility of the Coalition’s plan.

“The research by IEEFA’s nuclear experts calls into question whether nuclear makes financial sense for Australia, for a multitude of reasons—timing, cost, compatibility with renewables and liability issues to cite just a few,” she said.

“Our research shows that nuclear reactors—both small modular reactors (SMRs) and gigawatt-scale reactors—in comparable countries have consistently taken longer and have been more expensive to build than expected. Nuclear plants in Australia cannot be built in time to replace Australia’s fleet of coal power stations, more than 90% of which are expected to retire in the next 10 years.”

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