Member for Maranoa David Littleproud

May 8, 2023

National Party Leader and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud has suggested old coal-fired power plants be replaced with nuclear plants to avoid building thousands of kilometres of new power transmission lines across agricultural land.

Speaking on Sky News on Monday, Mr Littleproud warned that solar farms and new transmission lines were removing valuable agricultural land out of production.

Mr Littleproud said “common sense” needed to prevail.

“Renewables have got to a point where all the easy low-hanging fruits been done close to transmission, existing transmission lines,” he said.

“But we are now going to have to expand and put 27,000km of extra transmission lines, $80-odd billion worth, plus we’re going to strip away prime agricultural land and knock down native bushland to put in solar panels and wind farms to be able to get us to 82 per cent when we have sovereignty of our resources.

“We want to see (renewables) increase, but we need to supplement that with gas and also look at the emerging technology of small-scale modular nuclear.”

Mr Littleproud said the impact of transmission lines across agricultural land would take away food security and push up the cost of food.

“These are permanent 80 metre towers with six wires running across …  there is a buffer is required underneath them to remain clear,” he said.

“And also obviously there’s issues around emergency management around bushfires and about how you can manage the landscape to minimise bushfires.

“We’re talking 27,000km.”

Mr Littleproud also pointed to the loss of agricultural land due to solar panels.

“I was in Wagga a month ago and there’s a thousand acres of solar panels going across cultivation land that produces wheat and canola that’ll be lost,” he said.

“What we’re saying is a sensible solution for renewables. If you want to put it in a landscape where solar panels should go, look at rooftops, look at capital cities. That is where the energy is required.

“And if you make it closer to its source, then you remove the need for the extent of transmission lines that are required.”

He said solar panels should be in the cities, and wind farms should be offshore “where the landscape isn’t impacted”.

“And we’re not knocking down the hundreds of thousands if not millions of hectares of native bushland, to put these things on as well as lose prime agricultural lands,” Mr Littleproud said.

He said The Nationals were not against renewables.

“We’re saying, let’s use a sensible solution that the Coalition started, about rooftop solar, making sure that it’s close to the source that’s required,” he said.

“And then if you put small-scale modular nuclear into where existing coal-fired power stations are, you don’t need new transmission lines, you simply plug into where those old coal-fired power stations are.”


One Response to "Replace Coal With Nuclear: MP"

  1. After reading about SMRs on the Australian Government website ANSTO, I’m not really impressed. If we follow the example of the USA, which won’t have its first SMR plant until 2026, then SMRs built here would have no real safety buffer zone, unlike conventional nuclear plants that have at least “a 16-kilometre radius for emergency planning, with a wider exclusion zone of up to 80 kilometres to protect food and water sources”.

    Also, the toxic waste, despite being reduced, is still a major concern. A permanent stable and protected location needs to be found in which to store the waste for more than 250,000 years.

    Humans are not very capable when it comes to really long-term planning and preservation, so we’d more than likely be leaving a deadly legacy for future generations, if anyone is still around that far into the future.

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