Press Statement By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 8 August 2014.
BN is gambling with Malaysians’ health and safety by entering into a compact with disaster that puts profits over people by stubbornly persisting with its plans to build 2 nuclear power reactors. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong had urged critics of nuclear energy to keep an open mind as Malaysia cannot continue on an energy status quo. According to Mah, “Natural gas now provides 40% of our electricity supply whilst coal provides nearly 50%. By 2020, only 27% will be from natural gas and 60% coal. For that reason nuclear energy is a serious option for sustainability of energy resources.”
Mah is wrong because Malaysia will be able to shift to a sustainable energy paradigm without relying on nuclear power plants if the government wipes out corruption, invests on renewable energy projects, diversifies their domestic economies, reduces their reliance on hydrocarbon resources. Lest Mah forgets about the risks of nuclear energy, more than 150,000 evacuees are still unable to return home after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 following the huge earthquake and tsunami. Japan is still dealing with contaminated groundwater around the Fukushima nuclear power plants everyday.
Further talk of energy resources sustainability is contradictory when Malaysia enjoys a high energy reserve margin of over 30%. BN’s decision to proceed with its proposed 2 nuclear power plants is highly irresponsible about the dangers, safety and environmental concerns, especially when BN can not even ensure uninterrupted water supply, which is a key component to cool and clean nuclear power reactors.
Both the PR Penang state government and the DAP have adopted a firm and uncompromising stand against nuclear reactors due to its unsustainable costs, huge environmental and humanitarian risks. The Penang state government had written to the then Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Peter Chin, on 21 March 2011 opposing the building of any nuclear plant in Malaysia and the ban of any such facility in Penang.
Peter Chin had then replied on 20 April 2011 that the Federal government will abide by the Penang state government’s ban by not building any nuclear energy reactor in Penang. Does that mean that those living in BN-controlled state would be subjected to having nuclear reactors in their midst?
1. Nuclear Energy is not cheap
The nuclear industry has by necessity been a primarily state-dominated industry, artificially sustained by huge subsidies that forces the public to guarantee their profits. In February 2010, US President Obama announced a $5.4 billion loan for a nuclear plant in Burke County, Georgia, with taxpayers assuming 80% of the financial risk. The World Bank says nuclear power is ‘not the least-cost option’ and has not financed a nuclear reactor project since 1959, the first and only time it has done so.
2: Nuclear energy is not clean
The estimated overall emissions of a ‘full nuclear cycle’ — from mining uranium, to nuclear enrichment, and conversion of the enriched stockpile into fuel, followed by the disposal of radioactive waste – proves that the technology has been far from ‘carbon-neutral’.A 1,000-megawatt nuke plant generates 30 tons of highly radioactive waste each year that remains radioactive for half a million years.
3: Nuclear energy is not safe
Fukushima disaster exposes the safety myth. High-level waste from nuclear power plants must be stored underground for more than 100,000 years before its radioactivity declines to safe levels. The safe storage of such nuclear waste remains to be an unsolved challenge, The exorbitant environmental risks and financial burden associated with building, maintaining, and decommissioning nuclear power plants would pass on to future generations.
Besides, how can BN be trusted to ensure the safety and health standards of such a dangerous and high risk project like nuclear plants, when the BN government cannot even build a stadium without its roof collapsing or the roof of Parliament leaking? How can we trust the BN government when they can not even come clean about the Permanent Deposit Facility (PDF) of radioactive waste produced by Lynas in Gebeng, Kuantan?
BN and Mah’s commitment towards nuclear energy defies logic when the No.1 nuclear energy producer in the world, Germany, is shutting down all nuclear reactors by 2022. Need Mah be reminded that he was elected by a slim majority in Teluk Intan not to build nuclear energy reactors but to fight for more democratic space and justice?
Lim Guan Eng
—-Mandarin Version —