Residents will not experience any problems with nuclear power plants, Dutton says

Peter Dutton has played down community concerns over plans to build nuclear power stations near former coal or gas sites.

The coalition has announced plans to add nuclear power to Australia’s energy network by building several reactors if the country wins the next election.

While the opposition has come under pressure to reveal the locations and costs of their proposal, reports suggest the nuclear power stations could be built in areas where coal or gas-fired power stations already exist.

Speculated locations include the NSW Hunter Valley, Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, Collie in WA, Port Augusta in SA and parts of Queensland.

Opposition Leader Peter DuttonOpposition Leader Peter Dutton

Peter Dutton says people in communities with a “high energy IQ” are in favor of nuclear power. (James Ross/MONKEY PHOTOS)

The opposition leader said residents who lived near power plants would be open to living near a possible nuclear power plant.

“If you look at the high energy IQ communities where they now have a coal-fired power station, people are in favor of nuclear power because they understand the technology,” Dutton told Nine’s Today. program on Friday.

“They understand that it has zero emissions, it’s the latest generation, it’s the same technology that the government signed off on for the nuclear submarines, so it’s safe for our sailors.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has rejected the proposal, saying the costs of setting up nuclear power would be significant.

“The truth is it can’t be done, it would cost a huge amount of money, many billions of dollars,” he told Brisbane radio 4BC.

“In addition, it will take more than ten years before they can be built. Estimates are that it will be six times more expensive than renewable energy sources.”

A CSIRO report released on Wednesday found that a nuclear power plant would cost at least $8.5 billion.

Mr Dutton said nuclear power would allow other forms of energy, such as batteries and renewables, to become a bigger part of the mix.

Independent Member for Wentworth Allegra SpenderIndependent Member for Wentworth Allegra Spender

The nuclear proposal is just a ‘Trojan horse’ for more coal and gas projects, says Allegra Spender. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

“I want to believe that the battery can provide the basics, but it just can’t. The technology is not that advanced; wind and solar power, as we know, are intermittent, so you have to amplify it,” he said.

“We need to get serious about a new energy system as we decarbonize and modernize, and nuclear is an important part of that.”

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said no Australian would want to live near a nuclear power station.

“Nuclear energy is expensive, dangerous, economically and scientifically unsustainable and not supported by the community,” she told reporters in Canberra.

“There’s a reason why Peter Dutton hasn’t announced where his toxic radioactive power plants are going, because no one wants them in their backyard.”

Independent MP Allegra Spender said the nuclear proposal was just a “Trojan horse” for more coal and gas projects.

“It’s incredibly disappointing to see the way the Liberal Party is going,” she told AAP.

“The Coalition’s policies would not help us meet our 2030 targets, would mean we are in breach of our obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, and would saddle Australians with the most expensive form of energy.

“It’s not a credible energy policy.”