The Coalition has named Tarong Power Station as the location of a future nuclear power plant as “the poles and wires already exist”

June 19, 2024

Tarong is one of the seven sites proposed by the Federal Coalition to house nuclear power generators.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton hosted a snap online party room meeting on Wednesday morning to outline the Coalition’s energy policy which the parties will take to the upcoming election.

The seven sites identified at the meeting are Tarong and Callide in Queensland, Mt Piper (Lithgow) and Liddell in NSW, Loy Yang in Victoria, Muja (Collie) in Western Australia and Port Augusta in South Australia.

The Coalition’s proposal is that the nuclear power stations would be owned and funded by the Federal Government, with at least two to be connected to the grid between 2035 and 2037.

Whether they will be Small Modular Reactors, large-scale plants or a mix of both was not specified.

Speaking after the meeting – at a joint press conference with fellow MPs in Sydney – Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the Coalition wanted to utilise the current assets that Australia has, including the existing poles and wires.

He said the Coalition had carried out an analysis of each of the proposed sites, and the plan would provide an economic boost for their local economies.

“We will deal with the cost in the next stage of our policy announcements,” Mr Dutton said.

He said the Commonwealth had the power to “compulsorily acquire” existing coal-fired sites with “just compensation”.

Mr Dutton said he was very happy for the next election to be “a referendum” on energy policy, nuclear power and electricity prices.

He said the waste from nuclear power generation would be stored at each site, for the life of the plants.

Nationals Leader and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud described the Coalition’s energy policy as a “vision for regional Australia”.

He said the Coalition would lead Australia away from the “madness” of an all-renewables energy policy.

Premier Steven Miles said the construction of nuclear generators in Queensland would mean future generations would have to manage “dangerous, radioactive nuclear waste forever”.

The Tarong and Tarong North power stations and Callide B are fully owned by the Queensland Government, while Callide C is a joint venture with IG Power (Callide) Ltd, which has been in voluntary administration since June 2016.

Legislation would have to be amended for nuclear generators to be built in Queensland, as they are currently banned by the Nuclear Facilities Prohibition Act 2007.

The purpose of this Act is to “help protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of Queensland. The purpose is achieved primarily by prohibiting the construction and operation of particular nuclear reactors and other facilities in the nuclear fuel cycle”.

Similar legislation also exists in NSW and Victoria.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton posted this image, which he described as a “concept design of a zero emissions small modular reactor”, on social media on Wednesday morning

Nationals Leader David Littleproud says the Labor Party’s all-renewables policy is “madness”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton says the Coalition’s energy policy provides “eight decades” of certainty

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