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Tuesday, 19 May 1970

Mr SWARTZ - It is a fact that approval has been given in principle for the construction of a nuclear power station which will be designed to feed electricity into the New South Wales grid. The actual cost of the power station is not known at this time. 1 would not like to refer to it at this time because only recently we called for tenders for the construction of the power station and the associated generating plant. Tenders close next month. We anticipate that after very careful consideration of the tenders - I have announced already that about 1 1 tenders have been received - the Government will be able to make a decision about the end of this year. 1 hope we will be able to make that decision in about October. It may be a bit later but an announcement will be made about that point of time. 1 expect that in the next session of the Parliament a Bill will be introduced to cover the provision of funds for this project. I am not quite sure at this stage whether one Bill will cover the point raised by the honourable member. At least some legislation will be introduced in the next session to cover the financial aspects of the construction of the station.

The honourable member inferred - following upon a Press statement that appeared today, I think - that some decision had been made already in relation to a Canadian type of reactor for this station. I would like to say quite clearly that this is not so. Consideration will be given to submissions or tenders from the Canadian authorities, or the relevant corporation in Canada, in the same way that consideration will be given to all other tenders. The Government will consider all tenders in the normal way. There is one provision to which all tenders must conform, that is, the desire of the Government that indigenous fuel be used in some form or other. That is one of the basic requirements written into the tender documents. Consideration will be given to all tenders and when the recommendations are received the Government will come to a decision and will announce it.

Before concluding I wish to qualify one point in relation to a Press statement on which, 1 am sure, the honourable member based his question. I refer to a statement attributed to Professor Encel. 1 understand that this learned gentleman made a statement which was reported in the Press last week. It also was incorrect. The statement which he has made today is equally untrue in most aspects.

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