Residents will be fine with nuclear plants, says Dutton

Peter Dutton has played down community concerns over plans to build nuclear power plants near former coal or gas sites.

The coalition has announced plans to add nuclear to Australia's energy grid by building several reactors, should it win the next election.

While the opposition has come under pressure to reveal their proposal's locations and costings, reports suggest the nuclear plants could be built in areas that already have coal or gas-fired power stations.

Speculated sites include the NSW Hunter Valley, Victoria's Latrobe Valley, Collie in WA, Port Augusta in SA and parts of Queensland.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton
Peter Dutton says people in communities with "high energy IQ" are in favour of nuclear power. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

The Opposition Leader said residents who lived near power plants would be open to living near a possible nuclear power plant.

"When you look at the communities where there is a high energy IQ, that is where they've got a coal-fired power station now, people are in favour (of nuclear) because they understand the technology," Mr Dutton told Nine's Today program on Friday.

"They understand that it's zero emissions, that it is latest generation, it's the same technology the government signed up to for the nuclear submarines, so it's safe for our sailors."

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has rubbished the proposal, saying the cost of setting up nuclear energy would be significant.

"The truth is that it doesn't stack up, it would cost an enormous amount, many billions of dollars," he told Brisbane radio 4BC.

"In addition to that, it will be more than a decade before they can be built. The estimations are that it'll be six times more expensive than renewables."

A CSIRO report released on Wednesday showed a nuclear power plant would cost at least $8.5 billion.

Mr Dutton said nuclear would allow other forms of energy, such as batteries and renewables, to be a greater part of the mix.

Independent member for Wentworth Allegra Spender
The nuclear proposal is only a "Trojan horse" for more coal and gas projects, Allegra Spender says. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

"I want to believe that the battery power can provide the baseline, it just can't. The technology is not that advanced, wind and solar, as we know is intermittent, so you need to firm it up," he said.

"We've got to get serious about a new energy system as we decarbonise and modernise and nuclear is a key part of that."

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said no Australian would want to live near a nuclear power plant.

"Nuclear power is expensive, it's dangerous, it doesn't stack up economically, scientifically and it isn't backed by the community," she told reporters in Canberra.

"There's a reason why Peter Dutton hasn't announced where his toxic radioactive power plants are going to go, because no one wants them in their backyard."

Independent MP Allegra Spender said the nuclear proposal was only a "Trojan horse" for more coal and gas projects.

"It's incredibly disappointing to see the Liberal Party going down the path," she told  AAP.

"The coalition's policy wouldn't help us meet our 2030 targets, would mean we breach our commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, and would saddle Australians with the highest cost form of energy.

"It is not a credible energy policy."