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Charles Santiago

Posted by : Admin Direktori Blog | Ahad, 19 Disember 2010 | Published in

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Charles Santiago


Peter Chin’s ‘Two Nuclear Plant by 2021 & 2022’ an Affront to Malaysians and Parliament.

Posted: 19 Dec 2010 10:33 PM PST

Peter Chin's statement on 'two nuclear power plant ready for operations by 2021 and 2022' is an affront to the Malaysian public and parliament. It is a flagrant violation and total disregard for good governance, accountability, transparency and BNs own 'People First, Performance Now' propaganda.

The government has backtracked on its promise to conduct stakeholder consultations and undertake a 'comprehensive study' but has decided to bulldoze the construction of two nuclear power plants by 2021 and 2022.  This is an outrage.

The minister promised the Malaysian public and parliament that there will be adequate and meaningful consultations with all stakeholders before a decision is made on going nuclear.

 

The Prime Minister in his 1Malaysia blog promised a "comprehensive study" before going ahead on building nuclear power plants.  In fact, the premier said that “all options for electricity generation, from biomass to wind, will be explored” before making a decision on building nuclear power plant in the country.

 

However, up till today, the 'comprehensive study' has not been made available to the public. Moreover, it is not clear if such a 'comprehensive study' was ever conducted. Worse still, were there meaningful consultations with stake holders.

 

Clearly, the government does not even take the recommendation of the New Economic Model 1 seriously. The document calls for greater empowerment and participation of ordinary Malaysians in government decision making.

In fact, the government's penchant for secrecy and misleading the public has increased despite government reform rhetoric.

The Minister's argument rests on the notion that nuclear power plants are cost efficient.  And that the operational costs of nuclear power plants are cheaper than coal, oil and gas.  Using coal and gas will lead to higher tariff for consumers.

It is true that prices of both coal and gas have been rising in recent years.

However, the same is true of uranium, the fuel required for nuclear power plants.

It must be pointed out to the Minister that overall cost needs to be considered, rather than just operational cost, including hidden cost.

In Parliament, Chin stated that a 1,000 megawatt (MW) nuclear power plant could cost between US$2 and US$4 billion (RM6.4 and RM12.8 billion). By comparison, the 1,300MW Lumut gas-plant, cost around RM4 billion.

Based on construction costs alone a gas plant delivers more than twice the value per MW compared to a nuclear plant.

Gas powered plants enjoy an efficiency of between 41%-50%. However, nuclear hovers at around 33%.

If dependency on coal and gas will lead to a rise in electricity rates then I cannot see how adding a two nuclear power plants – which is facing rising prices, lower value per MW, and lower efficiency – is going to help reduce consumers' bills.

Malaysia also maintains a 40% reserve power margin, double the target of 20%. Why shouldn't more efficient management of the reserve margin lead to lower rates and remove the need for a risky technology such as nuclear?

Nuclear power also has pay costs for the treatment and storage of radioactive waste, which needs to be kept secure for thousands of years.

Additionally, there need to be security measures in place to prevent sabotage or illegal trafficking for weapons production. The government is only showing the Malaysian public a fraction of the costs involved with nuclear.

Nuclear power plants are a health risk. A study commissioned (KiKK) by the  German government showed a strong link between child cancers and proximity to nuclear power plants.

No Malaysian child or adult should be exposed to such dangers.

A big part of the safety of nuclear power lies in the maintenance culture. Malaysia unfortunately suffers from a poor maintenance culture as well as poor construction for official projects.

The Federal Government is also fond of official secrecy. These factors combined do not generate any confidence for nuclear safety in Malaysia.

Malaysia has outstanding targets on renewable energy capacity that have not yet been fulfilled.

The Minister needs to answer why government performance in this sector has been so poor. Since we have the option of safe and reliable technologies we should not be rushing ahead on risky, costly, and under-researched options such as nuclear power.

Nuclear, on the other hand, represents rising costs including nuclear waste management needed to safeguard hazardous materials with a radioactive half-life of hundreds of thousands of years.

Charles Santiago

Member of Parliament, Klang.

 


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