Monday, December 20, 2010

Malaysia aims to build 2 Nuclear Power Plants

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia is looking to build two 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plants by 2022 to counter an "imbalance" in its energy supplies, the energy minister said Sunday.

Peter Chin's comments to state media follow his announcement in May that the cabinet had approved in principle the construction of the country's first ever nuclear power plant by 2021.

"Hopefully, by 2013 or 2014, we will able to finish evaluating (the requirements for the nuclear power plants)," Chin told the Bernama news agency.

Chin said the country was heavily reliant on fossil fuels for its electricity supply, with gas accounting for 64 percent of Malaysia's total energy generation and the rest coming from coal.

"We must get away from this. (It is) very much (an) imbalance. Most countries have a good balance," he added.

The nuclear plan has been attacked by environmental activists who say the government has not thoroughly considered other forms of energy generation such as solar, hydroelectric and wind power.

But Chin said the potential for renewable sources was limited.

"Yes, very good, everyone wants to say that we want renewables, but what about cost? Can we force the people to accept high tariffs?" he said.

"We want hydropower to assume a prominent role as it is clean, but this can only be achieved in Sabah and Sarawak (on Borneo island) where there is much potential -- but not in peninsular Malaysia."

State energy firm Tenaga has said it could construct the first nuclear power plant at a cost of 3.1 billion dollars.

Agence France-Presse



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