Friday, June 3, 2016

Inquiring Explicit Perspectives on Nuclear Energy Prospect in Malaysia

We have to go further, inquiring some explicit perspectives on the prospect of nuclear energy in Malaysia. We have to, since to keep the public informed is the best strategy in building the capacity towards Malaysia Go Nuclear Program.

The foremost, and the devilish topic, among other in nuclear energy discourse is how our society looks and react towards the issue of nuclear wastes (I acknowledge we have a bad experience with Lynas rare earth project).

Nuclear wastes are indeed a major concern in the nuclear energy discourse. The debate about nuclear wastes usually has associations with the ethical, environmental and health issues. We never deny those facts.

However, the series of blind rebuttal on nuclear wastes for the sole purpose of demonising and baseless fears towards nuclear energy is not helping the discourse either.

It is true that the nuclear generator does produce radioactive wastes and it is indeed, dangerous and might be harmful to the population and the environment, only if, the precautions were taken for granted.

Let me put it into perspective; in countries with nuclear power, radioactive wastes comprise less than 1% of total industrial toxic wastes and apparently, the balance of which remains, hazardous indefinitely.

Why don't people questioning, for instance, how hazardous and harmful the wastes produced by companies such DuPont?

Let me strive more into this issue; the established procedures for storing, managing and transporting such wastes, is strictly developed and regulated by international standard.

Wastes are contained and managed, not released.

Storage is safe and secure; plans are well on hand for eventual disposal.

According to IAEA, most reliable methods for the final disposal of high-level radioactive waste are technically proven. Let people informed about this too, despite just having one sided argument, as if the nuclear wastes were freely disposed of by reactors without committing to any regulations.

Building capacity means, starting over with informed society. The public has every single right to questions and to get precise and specific answers and guarantees. An open discourse would grant the public the access to whole and mature realms of ideas and choices.

Having said that, the arguments should be carried out fairly. Besides the argument on the cons of nuclear energy, we too, have to acknowledge and addressing the reality of our capability, especially in bearing the responsibility towards climate commitment.

One of it, is the land capacity. A wise saying cut your coat according to your cloth. Yes, indeed. The real problem with land capacity, making everything undoing for solar and wind energy. This is also a real threat to any other renewable energy ambitions in Malaysia, except for nuclear energy.

A nuclear energy facility has a small area footprint, requiring about 3.37 square kilometres per 1,000 megawatts of installed capacity. This figure is based on the median land area of the 59 nuclear plant sites in the United States, as the study have been carried out by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).

By contrast, a wind farm would need an installed capacity between 1,900 to 2,800 megawatts to generate the same amount of electricity in a year as a 1,000-megawatt nuclear energy facility. Such a facility would require between 673 to 932 square kilometres of land.

A solar PV facility must have an installed capacity of 3,300 to 5,400 megawatts to match a 1,000-megawatt nuclear plant’s output, requiring between 117 to 194 square kilometres of land.

Bring those figures and explicitly put it into Malaysia's perspective, we will never get to generate the electricity and cutting the intended emissions at the same time, like forever. Unless we generous enough to give nuclear energy a fair share in the energy mix planning.

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Part 1: Doing Justice to Nuclear Energy Discourse
Part 2: Inquiring Explicit Perspectives on Nuclear Energy Prospect in Malaysia
Part 3: Way Forward for Malaysia Go Nuclear Program