Friday, 20 July 2012

Abandon nuke plan, govt told - Athi Shankar

An anti-nuclear civil society warns that the proposed two nuclear reactors posed lethal accident and health risks.

GEORGE TOWN: An anti-nuclear civil society coalition has called on Putrajaya to abandon its nuke plans, warning that the proposed two nuclear reactors posed lethal accident and health risks.

In view of the serious long-term impacts of nuclear power production, Malaysian Coalition Against Nuclear (My-CAN) wanted the government to invest in safe renewable energy and energy efficiency instead.

The coalition rejected nuclear power as a feasible option for Malaysia and preferred the options of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

“The cost of nuclear energy is escalating while cost of renewable energy is declining world over,” MY-CAN said in a statement today.

My-CAN also demanded the government to be transparent on its nuclear plans by disclosing full details, including potential sites, for the nuclear power plants.

“We call on the government to stop the ongoing nuclear energy implementation process immediately,” it said.

The coalition expressed extreme concern that Putrajaya was going ahead with its nuke plans without sufficient public information, consultation or debate.

It accused the federal government of quietly advancing its nuclear energy plans by ignoring widespread public apprehension on the dangers, as evident in the Fukushima melt-down last year.

The civil society slammed the government’s determination to consider nuclear as an energy option when such technology was rejected by a growing number of countries and carried enormous risks to public health and safety.

Advanced stage

It said the fatal risks included indefinite accumulation of radioactive waste, which cannot be disposed of safely and would remain lethal to future generations of Malaysians for thousands of years.

During a forum last February, statements released by Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation (MNPC) and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) revealed that the nuclear power plant (NPP) project had tiptoed to an advanced stage of development:

MNPC and TNB’s statements disclosed:
  • Nuclear energy was singled out as one option for electricity generation on June 26, 2009, and a pre-feasibility study was completed in 2010.
  • The construction of two nuclear power plants, with a total capacity of two gigawatts, was identified in 2010 as one of the Entry Point Projects in the Economic Transformation Programme.
  • MNPC is preparing a Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development Plan (NPIDP) which is expected to be completed by 2013, culminating in the delivery of Malaysia’s first nuclear power plant by 2021.
  • The final decision to “go nuclear” is expected to be made in 2013 or early 2014.
A detailed timeline on nuclear power deployment, obtained from Nuclear Malaysia, Malaysia NKEA OGE Laboratory 2010, indicated that the final site selection would be made in 2014, marking the nuke project “from an option to the point of no return” when the government made its final decision and awarded the contract to the successful vendor.

It is expected that NPP would lay out a RM21.3 billion investment up to 2020 to complete the two nuke projects.

Potential sites had apparently been identified in five coastal areas – one each in Kedah, Perak and Terengganu and two in Johor, and two inland sites near Perak’s Tasik Temenggor and Terengganu’s Tasik Kenyir.

‘Public misinformed’

US-based Burns and Roe Enterprises Incorporated had been appointed to conduct the NPIDP, feasibility studies and make recommendations to MNPC, with regard to optimal sitting, reactor technology, reactor size and infrastructure development needed to support the nuclear power option, and preparation of the bid documents for solicitation of potential vendors for the NPP.

My-CAN stressed that without proper public consultation, the decision-making process lacked “transparency or accountability”.

“We do not accept that government-sponsored and corporate-funded meetings by pro-government groups, including academia, constitute such engagement or information, particularly when statements made at such meetings, represent disinformation.

“As a result, the public has been deluded and misinformed about the facts of nuclear energy and nuclear power plants. The undeniable truth is that nuclear energy and nuclear power plants are not cheap, clean or safe,” My-CAN pointed out.

A loose coalition of 15 civil society groups, MY-CAN had started an online “Public Petition to Stop Nuclear Power Plants in Malaysia” to collect a million protest signatures against the nuke plants.
Its statement today was supported by 30 organisations including Third World Network, Friends of Earth (SAM), Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), Centre for Independent Journalism, Centre for Orang Asli Concerns, Dignity International, EcoKnights, Environmental Protection Society of Malaysia (EPSM), Himpunan Hijau, Institute for Development of Alternative Living (IDEAL), Jaringan Muafakat Pertubuhan Islam Perak, Majlis Perundingan Pertubuhan Islam Malaysia.

Other to ink their support were the Malaysian Physicians for SocialResponsibility (MPSR), Nuke Off, Pahang Raub Ban Cyanide in Gold MiningAction Committee, People’s Green Coalition, Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, Persatuan Persaudaraan Muslimah Malaysia, Persatuan Teras Pendidikan Dan Kebajikan Melayu Malaysia, Pertubuhan Gelombang Hijau Kuantan, Pertubuhan Muafakat Warga Desa (RuralCitizens) Negeri Kedah, Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), Sekretariat Himpunan Ulama Rantau Asia, Social Economic Committee of Kuala Lumpur& Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Stop Lynas Coalition, Tenaganita, TERAS Pengupayaan Melayu, TrEES (Treat Every Environment Special), Warga Permuafakatan Pertubuhan Islam Darul Aman and Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).

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