NUCLEAR REACTION: Ronald Tinker (left), Janelle Saffin and Anthony Albanese during their energetic discussion in Ballina yest
NUCLEAR REACTION: Ronald Tinker (left), Janelle Saffin and Anthony Albanese during their energetic discussion in Ballina yest

Nuclear reactor for Ballina?

By MARY MANN

A NUCLEAR reactor for Ballina? Janelle Saffin doesn't think so.

Standing by the Richmond River at Ballina's Fawcett Park yesterday, the Labor candidate for Page raised her arms and looked to the sunny sky.

"Look, renewable energy this is winter, and we've got it," she said.

Ms Saffin and shadow minister for infrastructure and water, Anthony Albanese, yesterday declared Labor's complete opposition to a nuclear reactor being built on the Northern Rivers.

Mr Albanese and Ms Saffin said Prime Minister John Howard and the Nationals had committed to building 25 nuclear reactors and high level nuclear waste dumps across Australia, and that Ballina's coastal location makes it a prime site for a reactor.

They said Ballina in particular was a possible location for a reactor because it was surrounded by water, and 'a lot of water is needed to run a nuclear reactor'.

The Prime Minister had not ruled out the possibility of one being created on the Northern Rivers, they said.

"I've lived in the Northern Rivers for more than 30 years and raised my family here, and the last thing I want to see out my window is a truck carrying nuclear waste," Ms Saffin said.

"Put simply, I support solar energy, not nuclear reactors." Ms Saffin said nuclear reactors were dangerous.

"You can't get rid of the waste, and it's old technology," she said.

Mr Albanese said renewable energy sources were the way to go. They would create more jobs for factory work and maintenance, he said.

"Nuclear power is not where we need to go in the future," he said.

Ballina resident Ronald Tinker, president of the Ballina branch of the ALP, said he did not believe in nuclear power.

"I've been on solar power for the past 10 years," Mr Tinker said.

"We get amazing amounts of sun here.

"It should be a condition that solar power is installed on all new developments."

However, National Party member for Page Ian Causley said it was unlikely a nuclear reactor would be built on the Northern Rivers.

"This business about the 25 nuclear reactors is a beat-up," he said.

"They don't come along very often.

"There obviously won't be one on the Northern Rivers. We don't consume enough electricity here."

He said solar power was not a suitable option because it was so expensive.

The Ballina Labor campaign office was officially opened yesterday.



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