Malaysia Tenaga To Sign Initial Nuclear Plant Pact With Kepco

Posted on June 25, 2010. Filed under: Energy |

-Dow Jones Newswire- Malaysia’s state-owned power firm Tenaga Nasional Bhd. expects to sign a preliminary agreement with Korea Electric Power Corp., or Kepco, toward construction of what would be Malaysia’s first nuclear power plant, Tenaga Chief Executive Che Khalib Mohamad Noh said Wednesday.

“We will be signing an agreement with Kepco next week to explore a technical requirement for a nuclear plant,” Che Khalib said .

The news comes as a string of Southeast Asian nations are either considering building, or have decided to build, nuclear reactors to supplement energy supplies, and as South Korea is emerging as a serious competitor to Japan, which has a well-established nuclear power export industry, including in China.

The plan to build a nuclear plant in Malaysia is still at a preliminary stage, and the government has yet to identify a site for the plant, Che Khalib told Dow Jones Newswires.

Kepco, he said, was chosen due to its strength in nuclear energy.

Late last year, a South Korean consortium, including Kepco, won a landmark contract, valued around $20.4 billion, to build four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates, ending a closely watched contest between bidders from Asia, France and the U.S.

On Saturday, South Korea’s Minister of Knowledge Economy, Kyunghwan Choi, told Dow Jones Newswires that four or five other countries were looking at South Korean nuclear technology.

The same day, Japan’s trade minister Masayuki Naoshima expressed concern over what he called a “serious flaw” in Japan’s business model for selling nuclear power technology. Japanese utilities are experienced and knowledgeable in nuclear power production, but lack sufficient experience dealing with overseas customers, he said.

On Wednesday, the Vietnamese government said it plans to build 13 nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 15 gigawatts by 2030.

The first Vietnamese reactor, with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts and using Russian technology, is scheduled to be operational by 2020. State-run Vietnam Electricity Group signed a nuclear power cooperation agreement with Russian energy group Rosatom in December.

Malaysia’s immediate neighbors of Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore are also mulling whether to go nuclear.

Malaysia may face a power supply shortage by 2015 if it doesn’t start to build more power plants from early next year, Che Khalib said.


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