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Time for Malaysia to reject nuclear energy

Time to reject nuclear energy , The Star, DR R.S. MCCOY Petaling Jaya, 21 Mar 17  I REFER to the report “Expert: There is rising resistance to nuke option” (The Star, March 15) where Prof Ramesh Thakur warned of “rising public opposition towards nuclear energy due to its many risks.” He emphasised that the Malaysian Government “must weigh all the potential risks, including the possibility of a nuclear accident, smuggling and theft of nuclear components.”

It was noted that the final report of the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) Mission Phase 1 would soon be tabled for discussion by Cabinet, and claimed that Malaysia is thoroughly prepared to make an informed decision about introducing nuclear power.

But there are many convincing reasons why nuclear energy is not a viable option for Malaysia. The global nuclear industry has continually failed to contain escalating costs and delays in the construction of nuclear power plants. There will always be the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear terrorism……….

Historically, a Russian nuclear power plant was the first to be connected to an electricity grid in Obinsk in 1954. Nuclear power plants soon mushroomed across the developed world, based on the deceptive slogan that nuclear-generated electricity was “too cheap to meter”. But global nuclear power capacity has stagnated ever since the catastrophic nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl in 1986 and the realisation that nuclear power is not cheap, clean or safe.

Today, only 24 countries operate 388 nuclear power plants, compared with 438 nuclear reactors in 2002, producing less than 2% of the world’s total electricity. Only 14 countries have plans to build new reactors.

Cheap nuclear power is a myth. Forbes magazine has called it “the biggest managerial disaster in history.” As recently as May 2009, two financial reports in the business section of the New York Times highlighted the incredible economics of building a nuclear power plant. The reports revealed two fiascos involving the construction of a new reactor in Olkiluoto in Finland by the French company, Areva, and the virtual collapse of the once touted global flagship, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. Both companies were overtaken by cost overruns amounting to billions of dollars caused by decades-long delays in completing construction schedules.

The nuclear industry’s history of financial disasters is lamentable. It includes the loss of more than US$1tril in subsidies, abandoned projects and other public misadventures. Amory Lovins, an energy expert, has called it “the greatest failure of any enterprise in the industrial history of the world.”………

On June 21, 2009, the then Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia said the Government would not consider the production of nuclear-generated electricity before exploring alternative renewable energy resources such as biomass, solar, wind and hydro power. So what is the Government’s justification for resorting to nuclear power when national electricity reserves are still substantial?

Malaysia would do well to emulate and learn from Denmark, where new technologies have made energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy feasible. Denmark derives most of its renewable energy from biomass and a fifth of its electricity from five thousand wind turbines. Denmark has no hydroelectric or nuclear power and has secured a high level of growth without an increase in greenhouse gas

emissions. It has achieved this through a strong political focus on energy policy and a unique cooperative relationship between researchers, business people and politicians.

Denmark’s ethos of social solidarity, transparency, accountability and common purpose shines an environmental beacon of light for Malaysia……

The issue of nuclear energy is too important to be decided by partisan politics and business interests. It must not be turned into a money-spinner for some politically-connected company or a career-builder for those connected to the nuclear industry. It is not good enough to “engage” with the public by holding politically predetermined seminars and conferences where pro-nuclear groups with vested interests tout the false benefits of nuclear energy to an unsuspecting public.

The energy path to a sustainable future lies elsewhere……..

we must not be deceived by the false propaganda of the nuclear industry. We must reject nuclear energy and avoid the grievous dangers of nuclear devastation and lethal radioactivity that will last for thousands of years. It would be immoral and unethical to leave future generations with such a legacy. t



March 24, 2017 - Posted by | general

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