Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

NUKE POWER: LET'S DUKE IT OUT; Deputy Premier Wants to Debate Energy Option, Which Could See North Coast Home to a Nuclear Reactor by 2040

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

NUKE POWER: LET'S DUKE IT OUT; Deputy Premier Wants to Debate Energy Option, Which Could See North Coast Home to a Nuclear Reactor by 2040

Article excerpt

Byline: Jasmine Burke Jasmine.Burke@northernstar.com.au

THE debate on building nuclear power plants in NSW, including on the North Coast, has once again reared its head.

The NSW Labor Opposition has called on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to intervene and put an end to the investigation by her deputy, National Party Leader John Barilaro, into the potential establishment of a nuclear power industry in NSW.

In his speech to the Small Modular Reactor Summit in Atalanta last week, Mr Barilaro said: "We need to have the discussion (about nuclear energy) and we need to have it now."

He added the discussion would take place over a "5-10 year period", before any nuclear energy options could even be introduced in Australia.

A spokeswoman for Mr Barilaro said the minister visited` companies in the US, including NuScale and U-Battery, that are developing Gen IV reactors which would possibly be available in the mid 2020s, as well as the US Department of Energy to get an insight in relation to the government's approach to new nuclear technology.

"The meetings were an opportunity to learn and gain knowledge about the sector," she said.

The Nuclear for Climate Australia website identifies 18 possible sites for nuclear power plants in NSW, including a 250km stretch of coast from Port Macquarie to north of Grafton.

The plan envisages the 18 reactors being constructed in NSW by 2040.

Last year NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley accepted Mr Barilaro's invitation to debate nuclear power and suggested Lismore host the forum.

In a letter addressed to the Premier, dated June 1, 2017, Mr Foley described nuclear power as "both risky and irresponsible" and said: "I accept your call for a debate and propose that we hold a public debate in Lismore to discuss the issues at stake.

"Lismore would be an appropriate location for such a debate as it is one of the most environmentally-conscious communities in NSW."

But when asked if Mr Barilaro was considering the offer his spokeswoman said Mr Foley was "playing politics with the issue and is completely ignorant to the issues and clueless about the technology". …

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