Here’s what we know about the Coalition’s seven planned nuclear power sites

<span>Victoria's Loy Yang power station in 2022. The AGL-owned site is on the Coalition’s list for planned nuclear power sites, along with Callide, Tarong, Liddell and others.</span><span>Photograph: Andrew Chapman/The Guardian</span>
Victoria's Loy Yang power station in 2022. The AGL-owned site is on the Coalition’s list for planned nuclear power sites, along with Callide, Tarong, Liddell and others.Photograph: Andrew Chapman/The Guardian

The Coalition has announced their nuclear power policy, revealing the seven sites where power plants could be rolled out.

But details around how the sites would work remain murky, especially when it comes to dealing with the existing owners, accessible water, cost, waste and legality.

Guardian Australia understands that the Coalition has not consulted the communities or the site owners about their proposal.

The Coalition has also offered no further information to the MPs who represent the sites and who will have to face these questions in the coming election.

Here’s what we know so far about the sites – and the potential issues facing them.

Queensland

Callide power station

Where is it? In the central Queensland town of Biloela, and in the safe LNP seat of Flynn. Colin Boyce is the federal member.

Who owns it? CS Energy a Queensland-government-owned company – owns 50%. The other owner is in administration and the Queensland government is negotiating to buy them out.

Related: ‘Raises red flags’: Coalition nuclear power plan met with widespread scepticism from business groups

Issues with the site: The Queensland government does not want to sell the plant. Many Queenslanders support the state owning the power grid, which goes back to the days when the former premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen attempted to privatise the network. Queensland also owns the poles and wires, which would set up another with the federal government. The Coalition has suggested it might compulsorily acquire sites. Biloela is also not flush with water.

Tarong power station

Where is it? The South Burnett region near Nanango, in the electorate of Maranoa, held by the Nationals leader, David Littleproud.

Who owns it? Stanwell corporation, also a Queensland government-owned corporation.

Issues with the site: Again, many Queensland voters do not support the sale of energy assets. And water isn’t guaranteed – in 2006, then premier Peter Beattie had to go ahead with a wastewater pipeline to the plant, because of drought. There are also plans to put a battery on the site, as part of the energy transition.

Is the state government in favour? No. The Labor premier, Steven Miles, says there is no chance of overturning the state’s nuclear ban. The state LNP leader, David Crisafulli, who is widely predicted to be premier following the October election, has also ruled out overturning the ban.

New South Wales

Liddell

Where is it? North-west of Newcastle in the federal electorate of Hunter. Labor MP Dan Repacholi holds the seat with a slim margin.

Who owns it? AGL, which shuttered the power station in 2023.

Issues with the site: AGL does not wish to sell the site. Work has already started to turn the site into a $750m battery.

Mount Piper power station

Where is it: About 25km from the Central West town of Lithgow. It sits in the electorate of Calare, which is held by former Nationals turned independent MP Andrew Gee.

Who owns it: Energy Australia.

Related: Chris Bowen labels Coalition’s nuclear plan a ‘risky scam’ as premiers affirm state bans

Issues with the site: Energy Australia intends on keeping the power plant operating until at least 2040, but has already put in place plans to start transitioning, with potential for the site to play a “reserve” role in the power grid. The company plans to use the site as a “firming” power source for renewables, as part of its own shift to renewables, mostly in wind.

Is the state government in favour? No. The Labor state premier, Chris Minns, has said his government would not overturn the state’s nuclear ban.

Victoria

Loy Yang

Where is it: In Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, in the very safe Nationals seat of Gippsland, held by Darren Chester.

Who owns it: AGL, which has earmarked it to close in 2035 as part of the company’s shift to renewables.

Issues with the site: AGL has no plans to sell. They have already begun planning for the site’s transition into the Latrobe Valley Integrated Industrial Energy Hub, which includes plans for a grid-scale battery. AGL has signed an MOU with Solar Recovery Corporation for a feasibility study and plans for an industrial low carbon energy hub on the site are also under way.

Old coal fired power station sites are well placed on the grid to transition into batteries, given their existing connectivity, which has given the sites value private companies aren’t willing to just hand over.

Is the state government onboard? No. The Victorian Labor premier, Jacinta Allan, said it was “unfathomable” that her government would support a “more expensive, more risky, more toxic energy solution”.

Western Australia

Collie/Muja power station

Where is it: Over 200km south-west of Perth and home to multiple ageing coal fired power plants. It is in the electorate of O’Connor, currently held by the Liberal MP Rick Wilson.

Who owns it: Synergy Power.

Issues with the site: Collie is already transitioning. The remaining Muja power stations are slated to close by October 2029. Right next to the Collie power station (also slated to close) is a site owned by Synergy, which has already begun repurposing the land for a giant battery. The Collie Battery Energy Storage System project is slated to deliver 64% of the new energy storage capacity for the state.

Is the state government on board? No. The WA Labor government has said it would not support nuclear power in the state.

South Australia

Port Augusta

Where is it? The town is 310km north of Adelaide, in the Liberalheld electorate of Grey, where Rowan Ramsey is the local member. The Northern power station on the site was closed in 2016 and demolished.

Who owns it? Cu-River Mining Australia, an iron ore magnetite produce, bought the site in 2019 and has announced plans to build a port facility.

While CU-River will use the port to export magnetite iron ore to the Chinese steel industry, it is expected to be a multi-user and multi-commodity facility, providing Spencer Gulf and Far North industries with further export opportunities.

Issues with the site:Once again, the owners don’t want to sell. They have told the Smart Energy Council they have no intention of selling, given they are building a critical minerals, green iron export facility using green hydrogen.

Is the state government on board? No. The South Australian Labor premier, Peter Malinauskus, said he did not believe nuclear was economically feasible for Australia.

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