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Nuclear won’t be a voter turn off in cities: Liberals

The former head of Sweden's energy agency has outlined the pitfalls of nuclear power projects.

The former head of Sweden's energy agency has outlined the pitfalls of nuclear power projects. Photo: Getty

A proposal to build multiple nuclear power plants won’t be a deterrent for voters in inner city electorates at the next election, an opposition frontbencher says.

The coalition plans to build seven nuclear reactors across five states on the sites of coal-fired power stations, should it win the next election.

Opposition frontbencher Paul Fletcher has dismissed fears the nuclear policy could make metropolitan electorates harder to win at the next election for the coalition.

He said the plan would show the party was serious about reducing emissions.

“What this announcement demonstrates, above all, is how committed we are to achieve net-zero by 2050 and  measured, staged, achievable plan to do that,” he told Sky News.

“There will also be base load power to replace what is being removed from the system as most of the coal fired power plants exit, and I think what my constituents want to see is proven performance on emissions reduction.”

Meanwhile The Weekend Australian reports polling conducted separately by the Liberals and Nationals shows support for nuclear in the communities where the reactors would be built.

The surveys show more than 50 per cent of those residents supported a nuclear replacement option for coal across all seven sites, taking in two Liberal held seats, four Nationals seats and one Labor seat, reports The Weekend Australian.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton will on Saturday reportedly rally the Liberal Party faithful at a meeting of the party’s federal council.

His nuclear plan has prompted safety concerns in regional areas where the reactors are due to be built, as well as criticism over the coalition not releasing the costings of the proposal.

The coalition faced significant challenges at the 2022 federal election in blue-ribbon, inner city seats from teal independents, who pledged greater action on climate change.

While the reactors would be built in regional locations, Fletcher said those in inner city areas would also embrace the idea of nuclear.

“I am very confident that we can make the case…  to the people right across Australia, that the coalition’s plan is a measured, pragmatic, achievable plan that delivers reliable and emissions free nuclear power as part of a mix,” he said.

Under the plan, it would take until 2035 to 2037 at the earliest for the first facility to be built.

Opposition energy spokesman Ted O’Brien said residents in areas near the proposed nuclear plants would be heavily consulted about the facilities.

“They are welcoming the idea of zero emissions nuclear energy,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“They see this multi-billion dollar facility that might come to their community, they see the value in building jobs for generations, 80 to 100 years.”

But Labor MP Patrick Gorman hit out at the nuclear policy, saying it was an expensive and risky move.

“The smart path for Australia is to continue the path that we are on. That’s more renewables, more energy in the grid, more electrification,” he said.

“Obviously, I hope for those countries that do have nuclear power, that they have a safe experience of that energy source, because obviously the alternative is absolute catastrophe.”

-with AAP

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