Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gov't urges open mind on nuclear, moots new law

5:10PM Aug 7, 2014By Lee Chi Leong
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mah Siew Keong today urged critics of nuclear energy to keep an “open mind” as Malaysia cannot continue on an energy status quo.

“I seriously, very sincerely come here today to look at that angle, on whether do we really want to go nuclear or do we not go nuclear. Let’s focus on that because if we talk about the whole system…

“We have to get it right first, it’s a very important decision for the country. It’s very easy to say forget about it.

“Okay, but what happens in 2020, what happens when our gas resources come down, what is our alternative?” he said at a forum today.

“This decision, even you say yes, it is a ten year process…Let’s not just say no to nuclear without debating the case.”

Speaking at the event organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli), Mah (right) said that it was with this urgency in mind that the government hoped to table the Atomic Energy Regulatory Bill in Parliament “by this year”.

He said this would pave the way for an atomic energy regulatory commission, to ensure that regulators and executors of nuclear energy are separate.

The minister in charge of organisations dealing with nuclear energy added that the bill would also look into use of nuclear processes in other industries, including the medical industry.

'We can't go on like this'

“Natural gas provides 40 percent of our electricity supply, coal provides nearly 50 percent and coal, as we know, is mostly imported.

“By 2020, due to the declining gas production and increasing energy consumption, only 27 percent will of our energy will be from natural gas… nearly 60 percent will be from coal.

“That to me cannot go on. We know that we are susidising petrol and gas, but what will happen after 2020? We are talking about sustainability of our energy resources,” Mah said at a forum organised by the Asian Strategic Leadership Institute (Asli) today.

He said the government has already commenced a study on nuclear energy and that it hopes to complete a survey and comparative energy analysis by the end of 2014.

He said the nuclear debate revolves around three groups – those who are vocally for it, those who know absolutely nothing about it or those who believe in it as long as it is not in their backyards.

He said the people could make a “better and informed decision” if they knew more about the type of technology that will be used and its risks, as well as alternative sources.

“I read some of them don’t even consider nuclear energy. I just like to say, have an open mind on that, let us discuss it, let us study rather than upright say 'no' because what else is the alternative?” he asked.
~ Malaysiakini

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