Thursday, March 17, 2011
Nuclear accidents and energy policy
"However, we should be concerned about other nuclear plants which are dangerously near to Sabah should a nuclear accident happen. For instance, the Philippines's Bataan Nuclear Plant near Manila. This Bataan plant is being mothballed but might be rehabilitated as the Philippines is running out of energy options. There are also several nuclear plants in Guangdong and other parts of Southern China.
"At the moment, the Malaysian government has no guidelines on precautions to be taken by citizens in the event of a regional nuclear accident. I doubt whether the authorities and the medical services have the resources, training and disaster management capabilities in tackling radiation risks coming a foreign country.
"Japan, China and other countries have little options for their energy needs. That is why they go nuclear.
"But Malaysia has the Four-Fuel strategy of using oil, hydropower, coal and natural gas. In the case of Sabah, it is very sad that we are still without an energy policy.
"Oil fuels have become prohibitively expensive, coal has been rejected and hydro power projects are not getting anywhere. The only viable option left is natural gas. But we are not allowed to use our natural gas because the gas is exported via Bintulu to give billions of ringgit in profit to Petronas. This is economic exploitation, pure and simple.
"Natural gas remains our most viable option for the next decade supported by bio-mass, mini-hydros and other sustainable energy sources. But Sabah wasted precious three years debating about the controversial coal power plant. Without any further delay, the government must commit itself to building a natural gas pipeline from Kinamis to Sandakan.
"Or else Sabahans will be condemned to suffer electric power shortages and high electric tariffs.