Nationals Leader David Littleproud

May 20, 2024

Nationals leader – and Member for Maranoa – David Littleproud says the Federal Coalition has “six or seven” sites in mind for nuclear power plants around Australia, but has not revealed the locations.

This is despite Mr Littleproud saying earlier this year (see below) he was prepared to lead a discussion about siting a nuclear power plant in the Kingaroy area.

“We have done extensive polling of the electorates, we’ll be looking at six or seven sites … and they have been very supportive of a nuclear future,” Mr Littleproud told Sky News’ “Sunday Agenda” TV program.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s Budget Reply speech last week referred to the Coalition’s energy policy but did not include estimates of the cost of building the reactors or their proposed locations:

“On nuclear power, some 50 countries are exploring or investing in zero emission, next-generation technologies for the very first time.  

“We hold the largest deposits of uranium on the planet.

“Do the Prime Minister and Minister Bowen have it right, and the rest of the developed world have it wrong?

“The government have ordered nuclear-powered submarines.

“I simply pose this question: Why is the technology which is safe for our submariners unsafe for our citizens?”

Mr Dutton said nuclear power would minimise environmental damage:

“We do that by putting new nuclear technologies on- or near- the brownfield sites of decommissioned or retiring coal-fired power plants using the existing grid.

“There’s no need for all of the proposed 58 million solar panels, almost 3500 wind farms, and 28,000km of new transmission poles and wires.”

Mr Littleproud said it would not have been appropriate for Mr Dutton to outline the full costs in the speech but said the policy would be released before the end of the year.

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the Coalition’s nuclear energy policy is “shocking”   (Photo: Twitter)

Speaking in Gosford on Sunday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese criticised Mr Littleproud for refusing to reveal the proposed locations of the nuclear reactors.

Asked by a journalist about a report by the Smart Energy Council which stated nuclear power was six times more expensive than renewable energy, the PM said the Coalition’s nuclear energy policy did not make sense:

“I notice that David Littleproud today, having said previously that they would release the location of where these nuclear reactors would be held or built under the Coalition if ever they came to government, today he’s saying sometime before the end of the year.

“At the same time, David Littleproud has said that they have done polling in the areas where the nuclear reactors are going to be built.

“So, he clearly has full knowledge of where these reactors will be built, but he won’t tell Australians where it will be.

“Earlier this week, he said he’d look Australians in the eye and tell them where it would be, what it would cost, who would build them and who would finance them.

“Today, he’s saying, ‘We’ve got polling, but we’re not going to tell you’. It’s not good enough.

“The fact is that the markets have spoken. The market is saying that renewables are six times cheaper than new nuclear power energy. And that is why no one is putting their hand up and saying, ‘We will finance these reactors’.

“It will need massive government subsidies. Nothing will happen for at least a decade in the best-case scenario. They have no financing, will require massive subsidies upfront as well as, of course, energy shortfalls because in the meantime we’ll go back to nothing happening when what we need is additional energy supply.

“This is a shocking policy. It doesn’t stack up, which is why they’re hiding it from the Australian people.”

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Earlier this year, Mr Littleproud said he was prepared “to lead the community” in a discussion about installing a nuclear power plant in the Kingaroy area.

Speaking to Sky News in February, Mr Littleproud was asked how popular he thought nuclear reactors would be.

“Well, I think … we’ve said very clearly is that they should go where existing coal-fired power stations are, because then you alleviate the need for the 28,000km of new transmission lines,” Mr Littleproud said.

“I have four coal-fired power stations in my own electorate and I’ve made it clear I’m prepared to lead my community through a conversation about a small-scale modular nuclear reactor in one of those, where one of those communities, where those jobs will be protected.

“I’ll lose 600-700 jobs in Kingaroy in 2030. Those families could have a future. We should back ourselves with the new technology and the smarts that Australia has.

“Just take away the ban. Let’s fight this out in the marketplace. Not politicians yelling at one another. Who’s right, who’s wrong on costs? The market, if you take away the ban, will determine whether it’s feasible or not.”

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