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Fukushima didn't affect S'pore's nuclear decision

Singapore was doing its own pre-feasibility study into nuclear power at the time of the Fukushima incident. -myp
Elizabeth Kamaldin

Thu, Oct 25, 2012
my paper

Above: The nuclear reactor in Fukushima was damaged when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan last year.

SINGAPORE - The nuclear crisis at Japan's Fukushima plant on March 11 last year contributed little to the Government's decision that nuclear energy is not yet suitable for the country.

Speaking at the two-day inaugural Gas Asia Summit held at Marina Bay Sands yesterday, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said that "in terms of the conclusion we drew, (it) would have been the case whether (the incident) had occurred or not."

The event was held as part of the four-day Singapore International Energy Week.

Mr Iswaran shared that Singapore was doing its own pre-feasibility study into nuclear power at the time of the Fukushima incident.

He said: "In our study, safety was always the paramount consideration.

"We wanted to make sure that in the context and from the perspective of a small city that is densely populated, any technology that we consider must be appropriate and stand up to a risk-benefit analysis."

However, the incident re-emphasised the importance of safety. Mr Iswaran, who is also a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, said: "Our assessment was based on the state of current technology."

At the event, he also announced that Singapore will build a fourth liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage tank at its LNG terminal on Jurong Island. It is set to be completed by 2016 or 2017, he said. This follows a third tank that is targeted for completion by the fourth quarter of next year. The first and second tanks are nearly complete, and will begin commercial operations in the second quarter of next year.

Each of the first three tanks being built can hold 180,000 cu m of LNG. The terminal and the first three tanks cost approximately $1.5 billion.

The terminal is the first of its kind in Asia to accommodate multiple types of LNG carriers and have re-exporting capabilities. It would allow Singapore to have access to gas supplies, and will let the country generate energy from another source of power.

Mr Iswaran said: "As the cleanest fossil fuel that can now be procured from diverse supply sources, LNG is set to play an increasingly important role in Singapore's energy mix.

"This fourth tank will enhance our energy security by allowing further diversification of our fuel sources," he said.

When the third and fourth LNG tanks are completed, the total capacity of the terminal will be boosted to 9 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).

The first and second tanks will collectively allow the terminal to handle 3.5 Mtpa.

Speaking later at an inaugural youth dialogue called In Dialogue With Youth, Mr Iswaran announced a power-engineering course to be introduced next year by the Energy Market Authority, the Singapore Institute of Technology and Newcastle University.

The event, held at Marina Bay Sands, was attended by 150 youth from junior colleges and polytechnics.

The two-year full-time course targets mainly diploma graduates who aspire to upgrade their diplomas to a degree. It will have a comprehensive, industryvalidated course curriculum.

The course begins in September next year.

Those eligible can apply from early next year.

keliz@sph.com.sg


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