Uninhabited island better for Malaysia’s first nuclear power plant

Posted on August 9, 2010. Filed under: Energy |

(Bernama) — Malaysia’s first nuclear power plant may be built on an uninhabited island.

Nuclear Agency Director-General Datuk Dr Daud Mohamad said that so far, about five or six sites in Peninsular Malaysia had been looked into and of which, one or two were islands.

“A populated island is okay but uninhabited is better, but it has got to meet the technical criteria,” he told reporters after presenting a talk on “Future of Nuclear in Malaysia” at Energy Forum 2010 here today.

He said it was very important for the plant to be close to a body of water and has a strong base.

Pre-feasibility studies, conducted by Tenaga Nasional Bhd in consultation with the Malaysian Nuclear Agency, were going on now while the the full feasibility studies would be carried out after the site had been identified, he said.

On the cost of building the plant, Daud said a 1,000MGW plant would require about US$2 billion to US$3 billion.

He said public acceptance would also be very important besides financial resource and technology, for nuclear energy to be used as one of the options for electricity generation.

“We have planned many activities such as talks, seminars and a public opinion survey to further give the public a clearer picture about nuclear energy.

“So far, the reaction has been mixed,” he said.

Daud said that to meet the demand for energy in the future it would be good to complement its existing sources.

“For baseload, you need sustainable energy sources like gas, and renewable energy can’t do that at the moment,” he added.

Asked why it was important to look for a site now although no decision had been taken whether to proceed with the nuclear option, he said: “We do not want to repeat the previous mistake and we need to secure a site now.”

Previously, he said, several sites had been identified but because no further steps had been made, the sites were later let go and developed into something else.

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