A technician uses a hot cell at the nuclear research reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney.
A technician uses a hot cell at the nuclear research reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney. TRACEY NEARMY

Nuclear stand-off headed to the North Coast

NSW Labor leader Luke Foley has accepted a challenge by the Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro to engage in a debate on further nuclear power in NSW.

NSW Shadow Minister for the North Coast Walt Secord released the June 1 letter from Mr Foley to Mr Barilaro accepting the challenge.

Mr Barilaro announced that the Nationals want to pursue nuclear power at its annual conference in Broken Hill last month.

At the Nationals' conference, Mr Barilaro supported the expansion of the nuclear power industry in New South Wales in particular in regional areas like the mid and north coasts.

Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro. Facebook - John Barilaro

"It seems to me that political correctness and our obsession with minimising risk of a media backlash is also restricting our ability to talk about solutions because they will be unpopular with some sections of the community," Mr Barilaro said.

"If we allow this to continue, we will only become more risk-averse and less likely to look at solutions that might really benefit us in regional NSW.

"For example; we know we have a power crisis, that energy costs are crushing both businesses, farmers and families, yet we don't talk about nuclear energy - guaranteed power to millions, lower bills and next to no emissions."

In the letter, Mr Foley described nuclear power as "both risky and irresponsible".

"While I most profoundly disagree that nuclear power is a serious option for our State, I accept your call for a debate and propose that we hold a public debate in Lismore to discuss the issues at stake," Mr Foley said.

"I profoundly disagree with your support for nuclear power as there is no secure solution to the problem of safely managing toxic radioactive waste that can be lethal for the next 500,000 years.

"Labor proposes that the debate would be moderated by an impartial local North Coast media identity with

NSW Opposition leader and Labor leader Luke Foley.
NSW Opposition & Labor Leader Luke Foley. contributed