Lake residents would 'have a meltdown' over nuclear power plant

2nd April 2018

Source: Newcastle Star | By: Melinda McMillen | Posted: April 2, 2018

YASMIN Catley is calling for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to rule out nuclear power in NSW. 

The Member for Swansea’s comments came after it was revealed the Deputy Premier John Barilaro was on a tax payer funded trip to the US where he attended the International SMR and Reactor Summit, in Atlanta, on March 27.

The NSW Nationals leader has on previous occasions called for nuclear power to be “part of the debate” about the state’s future energy mix. 

Mr Barilaro was an invited speaker at the summit and billed on its website as one of the “biggest names in nuclear”. 

While in the US he also met with representatives from NuScale and U-Battery, his office said.

These companies are “developing Gen IV reactors which will possibly be available mid 2020’s, as well as the US Department of Energy to get an insight in relation to the Government’s approach to new nuclear technology,” a spokesperson for his office said.

“This was an opportunity to learn and gain knowledge about the sector.”

Ms Catley pointed to a 2016 map produced by the Australian Nuclear Association which identified two sites in Lake Macquarie and one site at the Central Coast – Eraring, Vales Point and Munmorah –which could be potential nuclear power plants. 

However, Mr Barilaro’s office said he had not considered locations for any future nuclear power sites.

The Australian Nuclear Association’s Robert Parker said the Lake Macquarie and Central Coast sites were among many his organisation had identified across Australia. 

The local sites’ suitability was due to existing power generation infrastructure, population density, access to cooling water, road and transport infrastructure and an existing skilled workforce, Mr Parker said. 

He stressed his organisation were proponents of small modular reactors, not large reactors. 

The organisation would like to see 18 reactors operating in NSW by 2040. 

“It’s impossible for them to have meltdown issues like at Fukushima,” Mr Parker said. 

Ms Catley has called on the Premier to rule out nuclear power in NSW.

“The Central Coast has long history of being the powerhouse for NSW, but nuclear is not the way forward,” Ms Catley said. 

The Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper said while he did not support nuclear power in Lake Macquarie, “Mr Barilaro should not be shut down if he believes it’s something that should be looked at.”

“But the people of Lake Macquarie would have a meltdown.”

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