Deputy premier says a nuclear power station could be built in New England

Deputy premier John Barilaro says nuclear power station could be built in Tamworth or Armidale

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John Barilaro with Adam Marshall in Glen Innes on Wednesday.

John Barilaro with Adam Marshall in Glen Innes on Wednesday.

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Deputy premier John Barilaro says nuclear power station could be built in Tamworth or Armidale.

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John Barilaro said Tamworth or Armidale could be the site of a new nuclear power station.

The comments come after the NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader on Wednesday called for a national vote on whether to eliminate a long-standing federal ban on the power source.

Mr Barilaro said modern nuclear power technology means small scale plants could be established in parts of regional Australia.

Asked at a media event in Glen Innes on Wednesday if Tamworth or Broken Hill could be on the list he said "absolutely".

He said a power plant would be a major employer for Tamworth or Armidale if established.

"We keep talking about decarbonising the environment, we know climate change is real, we're living it here in the regions; it's going to get tougher and tougher (and) we're going to have probably more dry spells in good times," he said.

"Everyone keeps talking about low emission energy - yes we want to see investment in renewables but we know it's not giving us the baseload.

"If you want to get away from coal well nuclear energy, there's a real chance for it because of the new technology, the new small modular reactors that are now on the horizon."

Mr Barilaro said these were not as water hungry as traditional nuclear power plants, because they use air or sand to cool the core.

"I want a conversation with the Australian people that they look at what the tech looks like going forward and it may be part of the energy mix that is part of our future."

Jervis Bay has long been mooted as a potential location for a nuclear power plant, and plans were drawn up to construct one before being abandoned in the 70s.

Queensland Liberal-National politicians Keith Pitt and James McGrath started the nuclear conversation recently, signalling they will push for a parliamentary inquiry into the issue this year.

Their comments were echoed by Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce.

One Nation MLC Mark Latham has legislation before NSW parliament that would legalise uranium mining and nuclear facilities like nuclear power plants.

The Federal ban is contained within the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, which is up for review later this year.

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