File photo of a nuclear power plant in Europe. The nuclear debate has ignited in NSW parliament.
File photo of a nuclear power plant in Europe. The nuclear debate has ignited in NSW parliament.

CSG lessons for nuclear power debate

THE success of the recent fight against coal seam gas has reinforced the message to politicians that large scale developments such as nuclear power required a social license according to the Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition.

Secretary of the group Leonie Blain said it was wise of Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis to realise there would need to be considerable discussion about any nuclear proposal.

“It is interesting that Mr Gulaptis claims that the closing down of any debate about nuclear power in the past is the result of fearmongering by a minority,” she said.

“I would like to know what evidence he has for this belief.”

Ms Blain said the fact that Grafton was one of the possible sites for a nuclear power station meant there would be interest in the issue.

“There would be considerable local interest in any debate on whether a nuclear power station should be built and where it would be located,” she said.

Mr Gulaptis said while he was not across the latest in nuclear technology, he believed the technology had advanced past the community’s preconception of it being similar to Hiroshima and Fukushima.

Ms Blain said while that may be true, there were still major issues relating to taking up the technology.

“They include the cost of construction at a time when the cost of renewables and batteries continues to decline rapidly raising questions about the cost-effectiveness of the nuclear option,” she said.

“(Also) the lengthy time frame from proposal development to commencement of operation (and) dealing with nuclear waste.”

Mr Gulaptis gave his views on Nationals leader and deputy premier John Barilaro supporting a One Nation bill that would overturn the ban on uranium mining and nuclear power in NSW.

Former Member for Page, and now state member for Lismore Janelle Saffin meanwhile was categorical in her opposition to the plan.

Ms Saffin accused Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro of dangerous behaviour in supporting the bill.

“I fought the Nationals off when I was Federal Member for Page to stop them then from going nuclear... and with the help of the people, I will fight them again,” she said in a press release.

Ms Saffin said Mr Barilaro had announced his nuclear policy support on the run on Sky News, blindsiding Premier Berejeklian, who during Question Time on Wednesday could not state her Government’s actual position on nuclear power.

“I stand shoulder to shoulder with Shadow Minister for the North Coast and Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Adam Searle MLC, who has confirmed a McKay Labor Government will maintain a ban on uranium exploration, extraction and export.”

Ms Saffin backed Mr Searle’s view that the North Coast would never embrace nuclear energy, mostly, she said, because it posed a direct threat to the environment, community safety and local and regional economies.

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