Jonathon O'Dea, Liberal MP for Davidson, has urged on the New South Wales Government to consider exploring the potential of nuclear power generation after the state government reported 39 expressions of interest from companies wishing to explore for uranium in the province.
Mr. O'Dea, who chairs the NSW Parliament's public accounts committee, said all options for potential energy generation should be considered and not immediately rebuffed.
"The committee heard evidence that nuclear energy has significant benefits as a form of low-emissions baseload power generation,'' the committee said in a report that delved into the economics of energy generation in the state.
"The committee recognises that there are also genuine community concerns about nuclear energy. The committee therefore urges the NSW government to initiate public discussion about nuclear power generation as an option for the state.''
Earlier, Chris Hartcher, the state's Energy and Resources Minister, said NSW has received 39 expressions of interest to explore for uranium in the state after it had overturned a 26-year ban on the granting of licences. Among the companies that stated interest include North Mining, Iluka Resources, Callabonna Resources, Broken Hill Prospecting, as well as the NSW Aboriginal Land Council which submitted two tenders.
"This is a new area of exploration and a new opportunity to create an industry which will give the state's economy a real boost,'' Mr Hartcher said in a statement. An independent expert panel would assess the expressions. Successful applicants would need to formally apply for a licence before any exploration works begin, Mr Hartcher said.
"It is time for NSW to look at every opportunity to join the mining boom which is delivering enormous profits and jobs to Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia," he said, noting a uranium mining industry will contribute significantly to the economy of NSW.
There is ''real value in promoting diversity of energy sources ... as technologies continue to emerge and develop. This includes nuclear and gas," Mr O'Dea said in his foreword in the committee report.