KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will remain focused on the information and communication programme relating to nuclear power generation for the time being, and not in hurry to make any decision to introduce nuclear energy into its energy mix.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said emphasis needed to be given on nuclear power education first.
“Not necessarily we accept it straight away. I don’t want to commit by saying that we will look into this immediately but it is important to train and educate our people about nuclear (first).
“We have a lot of fear. We are not equipping ourselves with the correct information,” she told Bernama in Shanghai after a four-day working visit to China’s nuclear power facilities recently.
Nuclear power is a complex and sensitive issue that requires deep understanding.
It also needs a long-term commitment, taking a long time to materialise, while its programme requires a long lead time in order to cultivate a critical mass of domestic talent capable of supporting any future initiatives.
Even the UK, with more than 50 years’ experience in nuclear power, signed and sealed its first nuclear power plant contract in 2016 after being proposed as part of its energy mix in 2006.
“Let’s say one day we need this, (as) in the future our situation may be different. Even now our renewable energy is still not enough,” said Nancy, adding that the moving forward, the government would keep communicating and get feedback from the people.
During their working visit to China recently, the Malaysian delegation not only studied safe and sustainable nuclear power technology and infrastructure, but also its implementation, especially on ways to achieve public understanding and acceptance.
The visit, which was led by Nancy, was at the invitation of the Chinese Nuclear Society, a non-profit organisation dedicated to nuclear science, technology and engineering.
“This is my second visit to nuclear power facilities. Before this, I was invited to visit nuclear power facilities in the UK.
“However, this visit is more comprehensive because not only were we brought to see the models, but also the ‘live’ operating ones,” Nancy said.
She said another important aspect of the visit was learning how China gained public acceptance in adding nuclear power to its energy mix and the input was something for Malaysia to consider.
In terms of technology, China is also one of the leading nuclear power technologies, having started more than 30 years ago.
Previously a buyer of nuclear power plants, China is gaining ground on technological expertise and its main objective is to be self-sufficient in nuclear energy.
“This is also a key thing. Their advancement and R&D to strengthen their technology are very far sighted. This is something very useful for us to learn.
“We had made a very good assessment as our 19-member delegation comprised energy and nuclear experts,” she said.
The delegation was made up of…