Wednesday 3 October 2012

Sites found, but decision pending on nuke plants

  Hazlan Zakaria

While the government has looked at several locations as possible sites for nuclear power plants, it has yet to decide if the plants will be built any time soon, said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

NONE"Until today, only site selection studies have been done using digital maps of the peninsula, without any fieldwork being done thus far," he said in a written reply to Sim Tong Him (DAP-Kota Melaka, left).

The proposal to build two nuclear power plants has been listed as one of the Entry Point Projects under the government’s Economic Transformation Programme in the oil, gas and energy sector.

Detailed studies into future energy needs and preparations are needed before such plants can be built, Najib added.
Some of the areas that are being looked into include:
  • Studies on the legal framework and a national nuclear monitoring policy;
  • Feasibility studies as well as a plan on how to develop nuclear power infrastructure in Malaysia;
  • An information campaign on the proposal to reach all stakeholders and get their feedback; and
  • A study on setting up a new entity to own and operate nuclear plants in Malaysia.
The government’s proposed construction of two nuclear plants to generate electricity has garnered opposition brickbats as well as triggered protests from pro-environmental groups that raised the spectre of the rare earths disaster in Bukit Merah, Perak, as their rallying cry.

The worries expressed by the concerned parties have been heightened by the recent nuclear plant disaster in Fukushima, Japan.

Some of them have accused the government of selling out the future of the rakyat and the safety of the environment to foreign corporate interests.

However, the government insists that its nuclear plant plans are only to cater for future development and that this will be carried out under strict guidelines to ensure the safety of the people and minimise any impact on the environment.

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