Malaysia plans to build nuke power plants by 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia plans to build two nuclear power plants that will generate 1,000 megawatts each with the first plant ready for operation in 2021.

The second plant is expected to be ready a year later.

These are part of an overall long-term plan to balance energy supply.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin said the Government would engage an international consultant to evaluate the location and requirement for such plants to be built.

“Hopefully, by 2013 or 2014, we will able to finish evaluating this. As for calling of tenders, we hope it will be done by 2016,” he said.

Chin said Malaysia was heavily reliant on gas and coal for its electricity supply as it was the Government’s policy to reduce reliance on fossil fuel.

Gas accounted for 64% of the country’s energy generation while the remainder came from coal.

“We must get away from this. (It is) very much an imbalance. Most countries have a good balance. We want hydro to assume a prominent role as it is clean but this can only be achieved in Sabah and Sarawak where there is much potential but not in Peninsular Malaysia,” he said.

Furthermore, Chin said other sources of energy such as biomass and wind were too minimal while solar was a good potential but the technology was still very expensive.

Chin also said the Government must have a balanced approach when it came to renewal energy as it would not want tariffs to go up due to higher cost.

Nuclear, he said, had become a more prominent choice in balancing the energy source due to lower maintenance cost and lower tariffs in the long-run.

“For example, in Abu Dhabi, they are building huge solar energy plants but at the same time balancing it up with a nuclear plant. They are not just concentrating on fossil fuel,” he said.

Malaysia began operation of a 1MW Triga research reactor in 1982 and has had an international nuclear safeguards agreement in place since 1972.

Recently, Malaysia also tightened export control laws to thwart the possibility of nuclear technology smuggling. — Bernama
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