Nuclear plan could damage National vote

AN apparent split has opened in the coalition over plans to create a nuclear industry in Australia.

Nationals leader Mark Vaile today backed a federal candidate who said the party would prevent the Liberals building nuclear power stations or waste storage facilities anywhere in Australia.

Dr Sue Page, who will contest the federal seat of Richmond in northern NSW in the coming election, said the Nationals were committed to opposing nuclear development.

"There will be no nuclear power stations or waste storage facilities on the north coast or anywhere else in Australia if the coalition government is re-elected this year," Dr Page said.

"Any such developments would require the approval of the state and federal governments.

"The state government has already said no and the Nationals in federal government, without whom the coalition cannot enact legislation, are also committed to opposing this."

Dr Page said she was making the statement to head off an expected Labor "scare campaign" about nuclear facilities on the north coast.

Deputy Prime Minister Mr Vaile stood by Dr Page and indicated the Nationals did not support the development of a nuclear industry.

"Dr Page is an excellent candidate and is one of many new-generation Nationals contesting this election for the party," Mr Vaile's spokesman said.

The spokesman said the Nationals leader agreed with the prime minister that Australia should not rule out a nuclear power industry in future decades if and when it becomes economical.

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