Russia Offers Help to Build Malaysia’s First Nuclear Reactor

Posted on June 8, 2011. Filed under: Energy |

Bernama

MOSCOW: Russia, one of the leading countries in nuclear energy production, has offered to help Malaysia build its first nuclear reactor, and promises a highly safe plant that can even withstand high seismic activity.

Atomstroyexport chief executive officer Alexander Glukhov said although Russia had yet to receive any request to undertake technical study for such a plant in Malaysia, it was ready to offer its expertise.

“We have yet to be contacted, but we know Malaysia is keen on building a nuclear power plant (NPP) and we are ready to assist them,” he said here today on the sidelines of the AtomExpo 2011 organised by the State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom).

Atomstroyexport is a subsidiary of Rosatom and is involved in the construction of NPPs abroad.

So far, Russian companies have constructed 31 nuclear power units overseas, including in Germany, Finland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and China, and soon in Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Despite concerns over nuclear energy due to the ongoing Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis in Japan, Glukhov said Russia’s third generation NPPs were of high standard and competitive in terms of pricing and technology transfer.

Malaysia plans to build two nuclear power plants that will generate 1,000 megawatts each to reduce its dependency on fossil fuel.

Although there has been no concrete announcement yet, it was reported before that Tenaga Nasional Berhad might construct the country’s first nuclear power plant at a cost of US$3.1 billion by 2020.

Early this year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the formation of Nuclear Corporation under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

Najib had said that the government was studying the possibility of deploying nuclear energy to meet future demands and diversify the energy mix for Peninsular Malaysia and that the corporation would spearhead the initiative.

Sergei Boyarkin, Rosatom’s programme director of the Engineering Projects Department, said Russia had one of the most stringent requirements in construction of NPPs.

This, he said, was due to the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986, adding that the latest design could even withstand earthquakes of up to 9.0-magnitude on the Richter scale.

He said building an NPP in tropical countries like Malaysia or in highly-seismic activity areas like Indonesia would not be a problem as they had built NPP in a similar location in South China.

“Apart from design, we are very strict in siting an NPP. In fact, with our third generation plant, we can have the plant about one kilometre away from residential areas.”

Furthermore, he said, there were about 143 reactor units in Europe, most of them near densely populated areas and some even in popular resorts in France and Switzerland.

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