Malaysia produced 91.6 billion kWh gross in 2006, 64% of this from gas, 25% from coal, 8% from hydro. It has about 24 GWe of capacity, a 55% increase over two years to 2005. Government policy is to reduce reliance on natural gas by building coal-fired capacity. It is noteworthy that Singapore has about 12 GWe of (mostly gas) capacity, and any Malaysian project could be related also to that market.
A comprehensive energy policy study has been undertaken and in June 2009 the government decided formally to consider nuclear power. A Nuclear Power Development Steering Committee was set up, to plan and coordinate the nuclear power development program through three working groups. Late 2013 was set as target date for the steering committee's Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development Plan (NPIDP), at which point the government will decide whether to proceed. In May 2010 the Energy Minister said that nuclear power was the only viable energy option long-term. Under the NP Steering Committee are three bodies: Nuclear Power Program Working Group under the Malaysian Nuclear Energy Agency (MNA), the Nuclear Power Project Working Group under the utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), and a Legal and Regulatory Coordination Working Committee involving the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and the Energy Commission.
In January 2011 the Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation under the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) was set up to spearhead the eventual deployment of nuclear power plants in a 12-year time frame, subject to the scheduled 2013 decision on the matter.
Prior to all this, in August 2006 the Malaysian Nuclear Licensing Board said that plans for nuclear power after 2020 should be brought forward and two reactors built much sooner. In July 2008 the government directed TNB to set up a task force to look at the feasibility of nuclear power. In September the government announced that it had no option but to commission nuclear power due to high fossil fuel prices, and set 2023 as target date. It then sent a draft energy policy blueprint back to the Energy Commission as it was not comprehensive enough.
As of early 2010 the government had a $7 billion budget to build a nuclear power plant, and in May the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water was told to find a suitable site so that the first unit could be in operation by 2021. Eight possible locations on peninsula Malaysia have been identified. The next step is the appointment of consultants to prepare a feasibility study by late 2013, along with developing the regulatory framework, the soft infrastructure, and winning public support.
In May 2010 the chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society recommended that the state of Sabah consider nuclear energy as an alternative to coal.
Why put any country in unnecessary risk? While we around the globe express our great sympathy to Japan as they face one of the great calamity in the history, we hope the Malaysian government will reconsider whether nuclear power is the only solution going forward.
The No Nukes; No Nuclear Power Plants petition to Malaysian Nuclear Agency was written by Carmen Magen and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.