'Where are reports on nuclear power development?'

PETALING JAYA: The Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (Awer) has urged the government to disclose findings of a study on nuclear energy, after some RM76.63 million was spent on it.

In a statement released yesterday, its president Piarapakaran S. said the authorities which spent the monies over a period of five years from 2011, should show the results of the allocations and reports which have come out from it.

Lamenting the lack of stakeholder engagement in the government's plans for nuclear power development, Piarapakaran said the federal government needs to carry out transparent implementation of nuclear energy development in Malaysia based on the assessments and issues outlined by Awer.

"The extremely low level of confidence in nuclear power plant project is directly proportionate to the secrecy of how nuclear energy development is being carried out in Malaysia," he added.

This was proven by Awer's National Energy Security Survey which found that 91.47% of respondents said the information on the nuclear power plant construction proposal is insufficient.

It also found that 90.52% Malaysians objected the government's move to build a nuclear power plant close to their residential area.

Piarapakaran opined that nuclear energy may not be the actual solution as it is only a short term energy mix management.

The not-for-profit body outlined seven issues that the government needs to address before proceeding with the agenda.

They are short term, midterm and long term energy mix policy must be clearly defined and published for public knowledge; location of nuclear power plant must be disclosed from the beginning of planning, radioactive leakages, emergency response and reporting procedures must be made clear to public; decommissioning cost of nuclear power plant is another forgotten cost that is left to be managed by future generation, capable human capital to manage a nuclear energy facility is vital, nuclear waste disposal; and whether cheap electricity from nuclear energy is a reality.

"Public's acceptance of usage of nuclear for energy must be done with full transparency and not 'make-up' consultancies," Piarapakaran noted.

He pointed out that the Fukushima incident in 2011 has deteriorated the confidence in nuclear technology tremendously and revealed the dark side of "transparency" in nuclear incidents reporting.