No nuclear say Northern Rivers MPs

A NATIONAL Party conference in Sydney has voted to investigate options for nuclear power and turning NSW rivers inland. The conference was attended by National Party delegates from all over the state and the motion about nuclear energy was put forward by the Dubbo branch.

But North Coast National Party representatives have spoken out against the idea.

The member for Tweed, Geoff Provest, spoke against the motion at the conference and said it would%only happen over his "dead body".

"I'm livid about it. I told them during the debate they'd lost touch with what the people on the street want. If it requires crossing the floor then I will," he said.

"To be fair it did also talk about wanting to investigate alternative form of energy, but when I saw the word nuclear I said. I want no part of that."

Ballina MP Don Page said the Parliamentary party set policy for the Nationals and the MPs would likely block the plan when it reached them.

"Our policy is we are opposed to nuclear energy and this is unlikely to go forward," he said.

Mr Page said he was interested in investigating other forms of power generation, particularly geothermal energy.

"It gives you the capacity to cover base load power. Other forms of energy like solar and wind add to capacity, but geo-thermal will give you base load power," he said.

"It's sustainable because everything is totally recycled. You pump water down onto hot rocks which creates steam and drives a turbine and the water just goes round ... and round in the system."

Mr Page conceded the technology was expensive, but said we needed to look at longer time frames, which made it more feasible.

Another motion to "support greater efforts to reduce eastern water lost to the ocean and more in-depth ways to turn water inland" was also passed by the conference. It was introduced by delegates from Lithgow and has also been widely criticised by the North Coast Nationals.

Mr Provest said: "Our position is clear. There will be no damming of rivers and diverting it inland. The parliamentary team have the final say and we are on the public record as being totally opposed."

Mr Page said a feasibility study had already found diverting water from the Clarence River was both environmentally and economically unsustainable.

Clarence MP Steve Cansdell was not at the conference, but said he was totally opposed to both motions. Lismore MP Thomas George was not available for comment.

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