Putrajaya says no to nuclear energy, but keen on coal from East Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad rejected today the use of nuclear energy to generate electricity, adding that more understanding of the alternative power source is needed.
He said this was because Malaysia had “a lot of bad experience” with handling radioactive materials, and as such, called for an in-depth study, to prevent any untoward incidents from happening.
Figure 1: Tan Sri Leo Moggie, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Yeo Bee Yin attend the Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI) 2018 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) September 18, 2018.
“In Malaysia, we generate electricity by burning fuel, coal and other sources. What we don’t believe in, is generating electricity using nuclear power,” he said in his opening address at the 22nd Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI) 2018.
“That was the stand of the government when I was the fourth prime minister, but unfortunately, not the stand of the fifth and sixth [prime ministers].
“But now, I’m back,” he added to thunderous applause from the audience.
In July, Energy, Green Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin had similarly stressed that Putrajaya does not plan to build nuclear power plants or explore nuclear energy, while regulatory agency Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation will be shut down soon.
Despite that, the prime minister reiterated his support for locally-sourced fossil fuel like coal, saying more can be done with it.
“We have a lot of coal resources, not only in Batu Arang, but in Sabah and Sarawak as well. I think we should exploit local coal resources rather than keep importing,” he added.
The Langkawi MP earlier gave an example as to how Malaysia’s once-booming demand for tin tailings dwindled, after an alternative material was found.
The switch in demand, he lamented, forced the government to negotiate with tailings companies to get rid of the tin waste, as it was found to be highly radioactive.
“After they found other ways to substitute the tailings, we found a huge supply of unused material and we had to negotiate with the companies to get rid of them as they were activated and high in radiation.
“We then had to bury the tin tailings in a one-square-kilometre land,” he added.[Source: “Putrajaya says no to nuclear energy, but keen on coal from East Malaysia” published by Malay Mail]
Photo Credits: Miera Zulyana