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Sydney receives support for views on nuclear plant – near Auckland

Central Otago artist Grahame Sydney says he has received a positive reaction to his comments about nuclear power, published in yesterday’s Otago Daily Times.

During an Environment Court appeal hearing in Cromwell on Tuesday for the proposed Project Hayes wind farm, Sydney said he preferred the option of a nuclear power plant rather than the $1.5 billion Project Hayes development on 92sq km of the Lammermoor Range.

“If given the option between 176 turbines on the sweeping Central Otago vistas and a single nuclear station, I would certainly prefer the latter,” he said during cross-examination.

Contacted after the hearing, Sydney clarified his remarks.

“It was only in the context of being given an option between a small-scale single nuclear power station near Auckland, or being given Project Hayes. Nuclear power is very low on my list of options for New Zealand’s energy,” Sydney said in explanation.

Auckland and its surrounds would be a more appropriate location for additional energy, as it was likely to be closer to the fastest-growing demand for the resource.

Along with several other energy options, nuclear energy was dependable and predictable, unlike wind generation, he added.

Yesterday, Sydney said he had received emails from people throughout New Zealand agreeing with his stance that nuclear energy should at least be considered as an option for additional energy in the country.

“What we need is something dependable and reliable, and people seem to agree that it [nuclear power] should be part of the mix. For it not to be considered at all shows how blinkered we are in terms of our country’s future energy,” he said.

Sydney said it was not sensible to put such a “massive” wind farm in Central Otago, which received very little wind for most of the year. He said people agreed the site chosen by Meridian Energy for its largest wind farm development was inappropriate.

“To put a wind farm in one of New Zealand’s least windy places is just stupid. There is support for the notion that the [proposed] wind farm is in the wrong place,” he said.

By Rosie Manins

The Otago Daily Times

29 May 2008