A motion to scrap the Illawarra Renewable Energy Zone at the NSW Liberal party conference has been amended to bring it in line with the party's position in support of the REZ, which was established while the NSW Liberal party was in power. However, the updated motion rules out offshore wind being included in the REZ, despite offshore wind attracting the most interest by value of any electricity generation technology during the registration of interest phase. During the six-week registration of interest process in 2022, $35 billion of interest in offshore wind was registered, out of a total of $43 billion. A spokesperson for NSW opposition leader Mark Speakman said the NSW Liberal Party remained committed to the REZ policy. "The Parliamentary Liberal Party remains committed to the implementation of the Energy Infrastructure Roadmap that we launched in government, including the Illawarra and Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zones." Motions passed by the Liberal Party conference are not binding on the Parliamentary Liberal Party. The original motion included a suggestion that small modular nuclear reactors be considered instead of the REZ, a theme that federal opposition leader Peter Dutton took up in his speech to the conference. "We've already taken a decision to start a national conversation in relation to nuclear energy," he said. Mr Dutton said that public opinion was warming to nuclear, despite his party yet to formally propose to overturn the ban in Australia on nuclear power. "We have the ability to lead this conversation, and indeed, in recent polling that I've seen, the Australian public - through what has really been an organic discussion over a number of months, influenced by the decision on AUKUS to acquire nuclear propelled submarines - the polling is now at 52-48 in favour of nuclear in our country." Members of the South Coast Labour Council staged a protest at the conference, with a Peter Dutton impersonator labelled the "Member for Fukushima". SCLC secretary Arthur Rorris said the opposition to wind power was a way to open the door to push for nuclear power. "Now we know why Peter Dutton and Barnaby Joyce are so obsessed with saving the whales lately and it doesn't have anything to do with wind turbine risks - It has everything to do with promoting Plan B - going nuclear," he said. "Mr Dutton needs to explain why we should fear turbines powered by the wind 10-30km out to sea but just suck it up when it comes to uranium powered nuclear reactors on our beaches." Nuclear advocates have previously proposed nuclear reactors at Lake Illawarra, Bass Point and Fitzroy Falls. Robert Parker, of Nuclear for Climate Australia, said the Illawarra had many of the ingredients needed for nuclear power, including access to large bodies of water for cooling, whether at Lake Illawarra or on the coast, high voltage electricity networks, a port for the import of equipment and a skilled workforce. Mr Parker said that if small nuclear reactors were used in place of the proposed Illawarra offshore wind zone there would need to be at least four reactors in the region to provide the baseload power needed, along with variable sources such as solar and wind topping up the grid during peak periods. "I'm not suggesting for one minute that there is no place for wind or solar in the low carbon future for Australia," he said. However, with Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen targeting 82 per cent renewables in Australia's grid by 2030, Mr Parker said the lead time to set up and build a nuclear industry would rule out the technology in meeting the 2030 target, which he suggested was an arbitrary deadline. "You've got to ask yourself, what is the point of the 2030 target," he said. "If we are going to fix climate change, this is not a now to 2030 issue, this is a now to 2100 issue." An Essential poll in October found 50 per cent of Australians were in favour of nuclear power plants, however the question did not ask whether those in favour supported nuclear energy in their area. "That's where the rubber hits the road," Mr Parker said. Mr Rorris said if Mr Dutton or others wanted to have a serious conversation about nuclear power, they needed to identify sites for nuclear energy generation. "Which lucky beach will cop a nuclear reactor? Wollongong? Thirroul? Sandon Point? Killalea?"