Home Web Specials 2011 Web Specials Seeking out nuclear energy is irresponsible and criminal

Seeking out nuclear energy is irresponsible and criminal

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Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) finds the government’s insistence on continuing its pursuit of nuclear energy as an alternative to coal-burning to be irresponsible and criminal in the face of the nuclear disaster unfolding in Fukushima.

A huge explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan following a major earthquake and tsunami

Recent statements that Malaysia will put safety first while pursuing nuclear energy and how a feasibility study by private companies can help provide answers are incredulous to say the least – especially when there are various safe alternative sustainable energy sources available out there that do not pose risks to our families and burn the taxpayers’ pockets while generating more employment.

In view of the fact that setting up nuclear power plants will never promise total safety, Germany, being a developed nation, is on its way to wean itself away from nuclear technology. It is now shutting seven of its 17 power reactors, while, Malaysia on the other hand is insisting on going ahead with its proposal to build two nuclear power plants by 2021!

The risks of nuclear power plants have been laid bare and history is repeating itself tragically in the nuclear meltdown following the earthquake-tsunami disaster in Japan, a country of advanced technology, which seems to be fighting a losing war as it struggles to control the life-threatening radioactive leaks after recent explosions at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano has since warned that efforts to control the explosions of nuclear reactors in Fukushima could be a race against time.

The current situation in Japan is so critical that it is compared to the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the US in 1979. The French Nuclear Watchdog has rated this situation at level six, while the Chernobyl disaster was rated at seven, reported to be at the highest point of the scale.

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As the world watches in total helplessness at this horrific disaster unfolding in a developed nation, as we read of the hundreds of thousands exposed to the leaking radiation and ponder the implications on the health of the survivors and the environment, it is disturbing that the government is seriously considering building nuclear plants in Malaysia. Getting private companies to do a feasibility study is just a ploy to buy time while waiting for people to forget what is happening in Japan.

The very fact of getting private companies, naturally profit-oriented, to do a feasibility study already creates doubts over its findings. Until now there are no clear solutions on how to deal with the radioactive waste, which can take 100000 years to be isolated – meaning we have to secure thousands of generations ahead of us to help work on the wastes, which naturally, must be very expensive to maintain, even an impossible task.

PSM urges the government to invest in green technologies that do not pose negative repercussions such as solar, tidal and windmill technologies, among others. Since Malaysia has a healthy energy reserve of about 40 per cent, it is truly timely to use this opportunity to explore sustainable green alternatives. The Stanford University has in its study pointed out that with political will, 100 per cent renewable energy that is safe can be achieved by 2030.

The question is, why pursue something with so many risks while sustainable solutions are available? There are risks in life that we cannot avoid but it is criminal to allow risks that we can clearly avoid.

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PSM urges the government to cancel its nuclear power plans, as an alternative source of energy. It is time to seriously look into sustainable development with green technology in mind. There are many independent and reputable organisations waiting to provide the necessary information and support.

No to nuclear energy! Yes to green alternatives!

Kalai Joethi Sahadevan is the Environment Desk Coordinator for the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM)

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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13 Nov 2011 9.16am

If only the word ‘nuclear’ was not synonymous with the plutonium-producing uranium fuel cycle. The enormity of the ‘con job’ in order to get bomb-making plutonium is a crime against humanity. Can we now move on to the future? The THORIUM fuel cycle IS the future – can’t melt down!!. With very basic safety measures in storing NON-PLUTONIUM waste for ONLY 200 years (not 20,000!) MOVE ON MALAYSIA, PLEASE DO NOT HELP PERPETUATE THE EXTREMELY TOXIC URANIUM ‘CON’. The Thorium LFTR reactor technology is not far off. Protest FOR it!!!

29 Apr 2011 9.40pm

I’ve either been reading slashdot too long or I’m so irritable about the ‘renewables debate’ that I’m losing my grip. Sorry, the Stanford article was about ‘the whole world’ and omits much of the detail of MacKay’s work. But that’s a barking mad proposition as it suggests that Singapore can be powered by renewable energy because there’s a lot of ‘unused space’ in Africa.

Until the World is a single political entity run by a ‘World Government’ (perish the thought!), energy will continue to be as much of a political issue as it is a technical one. Even at a national level, ‘NIMBYism’ is a perennial power generation and distribution issue. The only truly sustainable (because it’s secure) energy policy is one that relies on domestic power generation capacity alone. We still need those figures for Malaysia because it’s always going to be as risky at best to rely on Chad’s or Sudan’s renewable supply as it is for the UK to rely on Iraq’s oil.

Let’s have a public effort to elicit the Malaysian version of those facts.

29 Apr 2011 12.25am

The real problem here is that innumerate people who are only really well equipped to buy or to sell slimming pills and ‘novel business opportunities’ are attempting to argue a local physics proposition based on facts related to other countries’ circumstances. That’s horribly inadequate behaviour. The Stanford study is about the USA. The USA – for geographical / geological / population density reasons can just about slide in under the bar of demand-lower-than-supply. The Oxford study is about the UK. The UK is a small, cold, dark, wet rock in a cold, miserable sea with a very dense population (I should know; I’m one of them). It cannot meet the totality of its projected demand with its renewable resources. That’s what the two cited sources say in a nutshell. Malaysia is not the USA and it is not the UK. Possibly due to the brain drain, no numerate person (so far as I am – or you are – aware) in Malaysia who remembers her high school physics has done the same calculations for Malaysia. It’s not even necessary to decide which ones to do –… Read more »

Dee Zsombor
28 Apr 2011 9.27pm

Here is a nice & detailed book with real math, written by an Oxford professor about sustainable energy policy.

My head hurts by all this referral to supposedly higher authority based on Standford this and Oxford that. Instead I’ve suggest you to think. The “Standford study” you mention was written by Mark Jacobson. It is not as much of a study rather a short paper that appeared in Scientific American.

Now if you read one you’ll find a careful analysis of numbers & costs. If you read the other you get a reassuring message. It is your choice which one to believe, but bare in mind that the mere wanting something will not make it true.

28 Apr 2011 6.43am

Nuclear energy needs to be banned worldwide and people need to pull their heads out if they think it’s ‘OK’ to move forward with it and keep the plants that are operational!

I don’t deserve to die because of Japan, and no one else does either. Nor do I deserve to die because of all the other nuclear plants in the world! No one does!!!!

This … has got to go!!!!! We have other ways and safer ways, so there is no excuse for nuclear energy! PERIOD!

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