Monday, March 14, 2011

Malaysia to study Japan atomic accident

Malaysia wants to learn from Japan’s nuclear accident before taking a final decision on whether to establish its first atomic power plant, a minister said.

“It’s best for us to learn from the investigation results and see further,” Datuk Peter Chin, minister for energy, green technology and water, said in a telephone interview.

“What happened in Japan was due to an earthquake. On the Malaysian side, we have not decided anything yet.”

Japan’s nuclear accident has prompted China and India to review plans for atomic energy. Malaysia’s government said in September it wanted to explore nuclear power as a potential solution to the country’s long-term power needs as its oil and gas reserves start to diminish.

A tender will be called by the middle of this year to appoint a consultant to conduct a feasibility study and evaluate the site chosen, Chin said, without saying where the first plant might be.

“Only after that, the government will decide whether to tender the project or not,” he said.

“Nuclear technology is a viable energy. Look at France as an example where 72 percent of the country’s energy comes from nuclear plants.”

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said yesterday Japan is facing its worst crisis since World War II after a March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami killed an estimated 10,000 people and caused explosions at a nuclear power plant. Workers battled to prevent a nuclear meltdown after a second hydrogen explosion rocked an atomic plant north of Tokyo today. - Bloomberg
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