Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin has just announced that Malaysia plans to build two nuclear power plants that will generate 1,000 megawatts each with the first plant ready for operation in 2021 and the second plant, a year later, as part of the overall long-term plan to balance energy supply.
DAP is very concerned about the proposal of the Ministry to build two nuclear power plants in Malaysia. The government’s decision to build a nuclear power plant has not only aroused safety and environmental concerns but also doubts over its economic necessity when Malaysia enjoys a high energy reserve margin of over 40%.
We are waiting to be convinced of the economic rationale of a nuclear power plant. In Malaysia, with our poor maintenance mentality, even a stadium or a classroom can collapse, what assurances then can be given in relation to safety and environment following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in Ukraine that claimed 56 lives and resulted in 4,000 cancer deaths?
There are huge hidden costs involved in the development of nuclear power plants. These include spiking cost of sourcing raw uranium, costs of risky decommissioning, storage and handling of radioactive leakages.
Vast amount of resources will have to be diverted towards the maintenance of nuclear power plants. Above all the problems of shutting down a reactor is: How and where to dispose of the radioactive waste? Does Malaysia have the capacity and ability in dealing with these high risk issues? There is no proper way of handling radioactive nuclear waste.
In Germany, the government announced a new policy to phase-out the use of nuclear energy in 2000. Now they are worried about how to shut down the nuclear power plants safely.
There is also no economic logic and necessity for building a nuclear power plant in 2021 in a yet to be identified location in Malaysia, the Ministry should seriously look into the potential and the development of Renewable Energy. I wish to reiterate that as long as PR rules Penang, the Penang State Government would not support or allow any nuclear plants to be built in Penang to keep Penangites safe from nuclear contamination.
Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 20.12.2010