The U-turn in nuclear power policy

The U-turn in nuclear power policy

SINGAPORE- As 2014 approaches, South-east Asian states are moving ahead with plans to push ahead with nuclear power plants. In doing this, they are being supported by generous terms provided by the governments of South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and France, which will provide the technology.

Singapore, however, has concluded that the safety risks are too high and current technology is not advanced enough to embark on the use of nuclear power. In a parliamentary statement in October last year, the Government announced that it will not pursue the nuclear option at the present time. This makes Singapore an exception.

Vietnam is the most advanced, with two Russian-built reactors to be completed by 2020 followed by two Japanese reactors in southern Ninh Thuan province. Another six reactors are proposed.

In Thailand, two reactors are planned and four are being considered.

Malaysia plans to build two reactors in coastal areas of southern Johor.

Indonesia is considering smaller reactors on Bangka island and in West Kalimantan.

The Philippines is debating re-commissioning a nuclear plant built in Bataan by Westinghouse Corp of the United States in the 1980s. As a result of both safety and political concerns, this power plant has never been operational. It was built close to a seismic fault line near the then-dormant Mount Pinatubo, and was also at the centre of intensive corruption investigations.

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