Malaysia recently announced it will have its own nuclear power plant by 2021, amidst much protest over concerns regarding safety, environmental impact, and nuclear waste disposal methods. Is nuclear power the only way forward? This here is a consideration of less controversial and readily available alternative green energy sources for Malaysia.

Two decades of controversies – that’s what the Bakun Dam in Sarawak has been contributing to the nation – before the first kW of energy is even generated. Equivalent to the size of Singapore, Bakun, with a capacity of 2400MW, is the largest dam in Asia outside China. The dam was built to meet the growing energy demand in both Peninsular and East Malaysia.

In the original plan, power generated from the dam will be connected to Peninsular via an underwater cable system. However, it was confirmed lately that the proposed underwater cable will not be built as Sarawak decided to keep the power generated from Bakun for use of the state’s industries, particularly the proposed energy intensive aluminium smelters.

Disconnected from Bakun, Peninsular Malaysia now faces a serious challenge in balancing the supply demand for its power in near future. Currently Malaysia generates most of its energy from gas and coal. With the impending depletion of gas supply and fluctuating coal prices, the government expects the current 40% reserve margin for Peninsula to fall to 0% by 2017 if the first generation Independent Power Producers do not get an extension to their contract.

Addressing the need to power up to ensure energy security in Peninsular, the Green Tech & Water Minister, Datuk Peter Chin announced in May that Malaysia will have a first nuclear plant by 2021, an announcement which immediately received strong opposition and condemnations from various parties.

The concern of oppositions for the plan is mainly on the safety and environmental impact of such project, and also the method of disposal of the highly radioactive waste. While those who are for the plan argued that developed nations like France has long been dependent on nuclear power generation and with proper technology transfer, the issue on safety and disposal can be addressed, and that nuclear being one of the cleanest form of energy is the only way to ensure energy security in the nation in the long run.

Without going into the endless lists of pros and cos of nuclear energy – is it really true that nuclear is the only way?

Source: .org

Palm Biomass

Malaysia, the second largest palm oil producer in the world has more than 400 mills which produce more than 41% of world’s palm oil. In the process, these mills, annually, generate more than 150 million tonnes of palm wastes which come in the form of empty fruit bunches (EFB), fibers, fronds, trunks, kernels, and palm oil mill effluent (POME), which mainly were, until recently, disposed through burning or left unattended in effluent ponds.

Of these wastes, EFB and POME can easily be harvested for power generation. Using EFB as fuel source for power generation, the power requirement for the mills can be met, allowing the mills to be fully independent from the grid, while the excess can be connected back to the grid. An estimate by industry expert valued the potential contribution of power generated by EFB at between 5 to 10% of total energy mix in the country.

In 2006, the oil palm industry in Malaysia generates more than 45 million tonnes of POME. These effluents can be converted into biogas which in turn be used to generate power through gas turbines. Industry estimates power generated from POME could contribute to 5% of total energy needs of Malaysia. For the power that is generated from palm based biomass, the issue to address is on how to grid connect the excess energy to the national power grid, knowing the fact that some of our oil palm plantations are located away from the power grid.

Solar Energy

Located near the equator, Malaysia is blessed with consistent day light all year round which can be tapped to support the energy needs of the nation. It is estimated that 6,500 MW power can be generated by using only 40% of nation’s house-roof tops (2.5 million houses) and 5% of commercial buildings alone. Currently the stumbling block for solar is the high cost of the solar panels discourages normal households to take up such alternative. To incentivise, the government must expedite the long delayed introduction of feed-in tariff which allows household or industry, acting as independent power producers, to sell the green power produced back to the national grid.

Discussed were just two forms of alternative energies, closely associated with the main economic activity and climatic condition of Malaysia. We have been involved in the palm oil industry commercially, and at a large scale, since the 1960s. From cradle to grave, our expertise lie along the whole supply chain, and it just make logical sense to leverage on this expertise and expand the use of the alternative energies from the waste from this industry.

As for solar, the world’s top solar panel producers have already set up their facilities in Malaysia, and we are poised to be the world largest solar panel producers after China. We must make full use of the expertise brought in by the technology leaders to help us build up our capabilities in solar power generation. It will be such irony if one day the equatorial Malaysia produces the most solar panels in the world, but has little use of solar energy in our energy mix.

So, is nuclear the only way to ensure energy security in Malaysia?

Both palm biomass and solar energy have very high potential to be harvested to contribute to the energy mix of the nation. Nuclear, clean or otherwise, is still highly controversial. Whether or not Malaysia is ready for such energy, due to the high expertise required, still remains uncertain.

What is certain, at least for now, the future of energy for the nation is not doom and gloom if other forms of safer, greener, and less controversial alternatives are explored and promoted. If the government has the political will to promote these alternative energies, the first step should be to remove the 10kW cap imposed on independent power producers taking part in the Small Renewable Energy Production (SREP) programme. That should be a good incentive to encourage more investors to put their money in renewable energy productions.

So, is nuclear the only way to ensure energy security in Malaysia? I think not, at least for now. Sometimes we need not make that quantum leap. Just look closer to us, there might be vast opportunities yet to be explored.

Author’s Note: There will be a NukeOff Info Evening, today at 8.00p.m. – 10.00p.m. at A&W, Taman Jaya.

Related Internet Links:

Research on oil palm biomass to be ready next March – The Star

Recovery and Conversion of Palm Olein-Derived Used Frying Oil to Methyl Esters for Biodiesel – Journal of Oil Palm Research

I walk in and out of both world to deliver the most complete message.

28 replies on “No Nu-Clear Way”

  1. CP, With regard Spain, according to Bloomberg news, it seems that they have just relented on nuclear… so perhaps some more investigation is needed before any conclusion. Not only that, Spain has just raised power prices by more than 9% it seems…. and has some kind of power shortfall also. Wonder why this is the case when it has so much solar?

    And how much CO2 is saved going to nuclear will depend on what it is compared to… for example coal emits more carbon than hydro per unit electricity produced. Certainly the total life cycle carbon emissions from nuclear or hydro will be much less than the equivalent for coal. I would be interested in references for the basis for concluding otherwise, if you could kindly provide them.

    By the way, as you know, there is a coal station proposed for Perak very soon… but did you know that coal fired power stations emit metals and radioactive isotopes both up the chimney and in the ash? The nuclear regulations do not govern them! And nuclear power stations are not allowed to emit levels of radioactive substances that coal plant does in the course of normal operations. Strange is it not? Coal is the dirtiest and most carbon intensive power source and that is what we are getting now… the cheapest… good for us! Let Spain go solar and nuclear to save carbon and the world!

    Do look at the widest boundaries possible before trying to come to conclusions, but make sure that you make a careful scrutiny and not a careless glance. There is a lot of pretentious unresearched illogical nonsense out there!

  2. @ AiSoo: no grand conclusion here, just a platform for discussion.

    Take Spain as example, phasing out nuclear, focusing on solar, and RE, even though nuclear saves them 2.5mil mt of Carbon gases. This 2.5mil saving is on the boundary of the operating alone. Mining, constructing, commissioning, decommissioning and waste storage of nuclear requires further assessment which could easily offset the saving. Life Cycle Assessment must look at wider boundaries.


  3. @LEONGChowPong: I know that you mean well, but you need to clean up your act by doing the research well first.

    Take your article “Convince me please”. You quote the price variations for different fuels. But the not the impact of these variations on the cost of electricity. Try seeing what difference that will make to a kilowatt hour of our monthly electric fix. Did you realise that your entire lifetime fuel requirements can be contained in one soft drink can… and the waste from that in two cans? As the price of any fuel rises, more marginal reserves become economic to extract. For Uranium, even sea water can be exploited if need be. We actually have Thorium reserves which we ignore. So please do not tell me that you need convincing? We the public require convincing by you the journalists… and to do that you have to understand the subject first. Otherwise you end up asking us the public what the options are!

    Next, in that same article, you say you cannot understand why it is not viable to use solar in Malaysia. Well, without German or Danish type subsidies, it is not viable. See my reply to Deborah Loh’s in a TNG article which I reproduce below:

    “OK, lets try to get real. Based on the PVMC website, the actual performance of installed solar PV here is around 100kWh/kWp per month… suppose we improve that by one quarter to 125 instead as a margin. Then the yearly performance will be 1500kWh/kWp. So installed solar PV capacity of 2600MWp will yield 3.9TWh on actual (plus improvement) performance figures. This can be supplied by one 450MW nuclear power station at a cost far below the 52 billion Ringgit it would cost for the solar PV (2600000 x 20000). In fact we can buy several power stations at that price. Hence solar PV is just too expensive at the moment.”

    The information (numbers) used is public knowledge, so is there any excuse for not knowing?

    Now in this reply you say we have to explore renewables. I am saying that you have to explore before writing such opinionated pieces. Show the path you followed so that others may check your methods and reasoning. Simply saying we should this and cannot that with no basis is not journalism… it is hate and prejudice. Explain your position so others may see the wisdom of it.

    Renewables like wind and solar currently require backup power (fossil fuels?) without which it threatens the stability of the electricity supply system. For example, the Dutch built what is now the longest undersea DC link to Norway just so that they could exploit pumped hydro storage for their renewable (wind, mostly, I think) electricity. We need this kind of storage before going into large scale renewable energy production. Care to cost it?

    Biomass, per your earlier comment, is a fine idea if dry biomass is used. Ours is wet so not as good a fuel as dry biomass. Try using some EFB for a little fire. Then try rice stalks. We produce both but not enough rice stalks! Care to cost in the drying of EFB and sheds to prevent rain “damage”?

    So you see, no need for theories… you can look at various practical options for us and explore… describe your journey of discovery to us… but, before that, no grand conclusions to the rest of us please.

  4. @ Ai Soo: we are not blindly copying first world countries' anti nuke activists, the gov should not blindly copying 1st world country to build nuke plants.

    My theory is nuke has is advantage, but Malaysia need not have one now as we have abundant of various renewable energy sources yet to explore.

    Until the day we exhausted these options, we should not touch nuclear.


  5. @Mimisiku, "Just food for thought…" This is so true… but unfortunately the public here have such short memories. MAS, for example, like SIA, is a fine airline well patronised by the flying public. Yet both have had their share of mishaps. So the problem really is that people are so forgetful that they continue to buy tickets from both these companies with locally maintained craft. Stupid Third World fellows! But wait, lots of First World fellows fly MAS and SIA too. Ah, so these must be the stupid First World fellows with Third World memories!

  6. @Pei Ling, “I did some research…” Please do the research PROPERLY. That example of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is very poor. The radiation released into the Sea of Japan was tiny, equivalent to two radioactive anti-nuclear activists (like yourself and Leong Chow Pong who are radioactive like the rest of us) swimming in that sea. Even worse that power station was built right above a geological fault which was only detected when the earthquake happened But that Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station was made operational again in 2009. Aren’t the Japanese stupid for allowing that? Not really, since they are extremely safety aware and careful. In fact there have been worse radiation accidents in Japan, including the 1999 Tokaimura one in which workers were exposed to fatal doses. Unfortunately that was not in a power reactor so does not qualify for your rabid dislike of nuclear power. But do the research carefully next time so that you do not mislead your readers.

    2) The cost of nuclear power stations are not an issue in Japan, Korea and China it seems, and in any case these countries are unlikely to continue building uneconomic power stations. No wonder the multi-billion dollar nuclear business thrives… because there are customers willing to buy from them. Please advise those purchasers in Japan, Korea and China who are actually keeping the industry alive to stop doing so at once because they are actually uneconomic and too expensive. Also please tell China to stop building coal fired power stations at the rate of one a week… one a month is enough since they have Three Gorges Dam and lots of rain, with my sympathies of course for the problems they face from the rain. Tell them to subsidise renewable energy like the Germans or the Danish do. Then we can celebrate!

    3) My point exactly, do not blindly copy “first world” anti-nuclear activists either! Its foolish especially if you cannot be bothered to do proper research and check what you are being told. Some of the strongest critics of nuclear power have now recanted and support it. For example, the ex-director of Greenpeace UK, Stephen Tindale, who is at

    4) The higher level radioactive waste from the entire Canadian (similar population to us) nuclear power system to-date (about 40 years) will fit in a basketball court to a depth of a few metres. If this quantity is not safely manageable by our future generations, then they do not deserve a future! They probably need someone to tie their shoelaces for them and feed them daily. Perhaps the high carbon dioxide levels are affecting their minds! Never mind, Pei Ling is here to take care of them with the usual mountains of unresearched nostrums.

    5) As journalists, you must make clear to your readers when you are being an activist for a particular cause. It is not right to use the power of the “press” to promote your cause under the guise of a “news” report or “fair” analysis. More so when your co-activists chip in and comment negatively on people like mikey who may be concerned about our future but disagree with your half-baked ideas. For example, are you a member of any anti-nuclear organisation? And have any fellow members come out in support of you and against naysayers on this blog? Place your cards on the table!

  7. Just a food for thought, we Malaysians has the aspirations of a First World but the mentality of a Third World country.

    Everytime there's a need for a massive project it has to be new. And there's no such thing as upgrade, everything has to be new, why? Because building something new is so much easier than fixing and/or maintaining it.

    Maintenance of public facilities, e.g. roads, LRT, government buildings seems to be lacking. Remember the leaking Parliament? The overhead MRR2 highway or was it in Kepong? The monorail mishap when the monorail wheel-cap fell off and hit the head of an innocent bystander? Feel free to add to the list.

    A question: Would you trust our own people to manage and maintain a nuclear power plant in Malaysia? Hell no. I'd rather trust the Singaporeans, and yes, the pun is very much intended.

  8. @mikey if cost is of concern, biomass will be more viable then nuclear, in Malaysia.

    @peiling you are right, different countries need different energy mix, based on local condition and availability of resources, and importantly timing. Uranium, is just not viable for Malaysia, at this point of time.

  9. @mikey, I did some research and found that actually in 2007, a 6.6-6.8 earthquake almost struck a nuclear power plant – coincidentally also the largest nuclear reactor in the world currently (KKNPP). The earthquake struck 16km north of the plant, causing a fire and leakage of radioactive water from the plant. Luckily nobody died, but nobody can guarantee the Japanese will be lucky again next time.

    2) The total construction cost of a nuclear plant starts from the billions (in USD). What's more, the nuclear industry has proven itself to be a poor learner in controlling costs and reducing the gestation time of power projects. And that's just the beginning, billions are needed again to decommission the plant after its lifespan run out in 40-50 years. A multi-billion-dollar industry, no wonder nuclear advocates never give up the business even after the devastating disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.

    3) Oh well, actually the US and most European countries are moving away from the nuclear option because of pressure from their citizens while Asian countries like China and India are aiming to build more of them. Different countries have different natural resources and energy mix to fulfill their energy demand, it's foolish to copy any "first world" country blindly just because they are "developed".

    4) I guess the high-level radioactive waste was never your concern. Never mind, just leave the mess to our children. Who cares if the next 1,000 or 100,000 generations need to take care of our radioactive waste? We've been robbing the future generations of a healthy planet bit by bit anyway, no harm adding a few mountains' worth of radioactive waste to that mess. And who knows, the scientists might find a way to deactivate the waste in the unknown future, so let's pray with all our heart. =)

  10. Let's go Green BEFORE going Nuke.
    Why do we need nuclear plants when we are blessed with other natural means to produce energy in Malaysia?

  11. 1) Japan also inside ringu of fire.

    2) I don't know the total cost, maybe you can google it, but maybe we can based on no. of productivity vs no. of year.

    3) Both

    4) Small amount of uranium can last longer compared with fossil fuels. You can get it at 7 Eleven.

    5) Not against the renewable energy options. Just it is better if we have both.

    6) Yes, don't forget Iran. So you want us to copy Sudan? It's not copying actually. So they have facebook, we can't?

    7) Define Malaysians’ current maintenance culture. It is a matter of perception. If you hate TNB (or GLC) you will search for 1000 reasons to hate them. So far, my electrical bill is OK and power outage (like what happen in Penang recently)not on daily basis.

    Concluding thoughts: Most of "green" tech also is high on cost and well, overhype. Safe/clean nuclear reactor is ok, they have this technology some decades ago. But I doubt Malaysia will go for nuclear power option, same with incinerator case, because WE REJECT TECHNOLOGY.

  12. Also the wattage of Solar energy reaching earth is not 300 watts per square meter as reported by hadiharhar. It's not one constant value as the intensity of sun light reaching the Earth surface varies depending on where we are. Malaysia is located on Equator. We are always near to the Sun, unlike countries with winter. On average, we will be getting 1,366 watts per square foot. Not 300 watts per square foot as deceptively claimed by hadiharhar.

  13. my, my… pretty defensive aren't you Danny?

    1. Even though sunlight energizes virtually all processes on Earth, the amount of solar energy falling on one square meter of ground is actually pretty small. The average amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth is about 300 Watts per square meter (about 10 sq. ft.). One rule of thumb is that a collector area equal to about 10% of the floor area of a house is required to provide most of the heating needs for that house. So for a 2,000 sq. ft. house, 200 sq. ft. of collector area would be needed. For centralized collection of solar energy, large land areas need to be covered with solar collectors in order to gather enough sunlight to generate a significant fraction of our energy needs. so, are you proposing that we clear out large areas of greens so that you can have solar collectors and wind turbines? for every wind farm / solar farm you build, you can place 2-3 nuclear reactors there instead.Current technology requires large amounts of land for small amounts of energy generation.

    2. waste from nuclear more compact than any source.

    3. the problem with wind is that it needs 3x the amount of installed generation to meet demand /Limited to windy areas./ Limited to small generator size; need many towers./ May affect endangered birds

    4. another biomass problem; Could be significant contributor to global warming because fuel has low heat content compared to nuclear which has no greenhouse or acid rain effects.

  14. I do believe that waste from factories should be made use of, such as using biomass to generate electricity. I remember a turkey farm in USA that made use of the poop as biomass energy (,8599,1621243,00.html).

    But how much biomass and solar panels would you need to generate the same energy as one nuclear plant? How many changes to the existing power distribution grid would you need? This grid issue may also affect the idea of people becoming IPPs.

    Does palm biomass produce more pollution than a nuclear plant? How much land would you need to clear for solar farms?

    The way I see it, the solar/biomass path relies on implementing a network of separate, small producers. We don't produce all our palm biomass in one place. Convincing homes/industrial sector to install either option is a challenge that nuclear doesn't face.

    The nuclear path requires just one big producer. But it is pointless to build it without pushing for the alternatives at the same time. People need time to be convinced, and time to construct biomass/solar, change the grid etc. We should lobby for the plant to be built only as part of an energy reform plan:overhaul the grid while pushing for the alternatives.

    Nuclear is not a long-term option due to the waste. But its a great interim solution. But I am a bit worried as the govt has not stated which reactor design they are using, there are so many now.

  15. Mikey,

    Nuclear energy in its current form, including the newer SMR with pebble bed technology, in my opinion is neither the cheapest, nor the most efficient energy. The fact that it requires a huge upfront construction cost and the many years it takes to construct one fully operational nuclear energy plant is frequently downplayed by the nuclear industry. This has cost many countries to thought about it and finally decided to abandon it as a viable energy source.

    What I am advocating is that we should look at renewable energy first and nuclear last.

    As I have said before, nuclear fission is a dirty form of energy. Newer technology only "claim" to be slightly safer as it supposedly would passively shut down rather than melt down as per what happened in Chenobyl. But before Chenobyl, the same people were also saying that Nuclear Plant have failed safe built in feature to prevent total melt down. But history of Chenobyl had taught us differently.

    We should only be embarking on a nuclear journey after we have harvested what is bountiful in Malaysia: Sunlight, palm oil biomass, biogas from waste, and wind. Yes, they are not perfect, just as Nuclear energy is not perfect, but with much much lower radioactive risk.

    Also, Nuclear plant required large amount of water to cool it. So, there is the risk of water contamination too and such contamination had been reported, specifically tritium (radioactive form of Hydrogen) contamination.

    Following your argument that we should not go "green" by destroying "green" for dams, we should also not risk radioactive contamination of land, sea, and river to reduce the risk of air pollution in nuclear plant.

  16. Some questions that I’ve been wondering and not addressed in the article and the comments section here nor in the media discourse:

    1) To store the radioactive waste, we need a site (underground or underwater) which will remain stable for the next hundreds if not thousands of years. With us being so close to the Ring of Fire, I can’t help thinking that this is suicide. But perhaps someone can enlighten me on possible suitable sites to store our future radioactive waste (if Malaysia does go nuclear)?

    2) Considering its astronomical starting costs, how long can a nuclear power plant runs? 50 years?

    3) Which stakeholders are going to benefit the most when the government put nuclear as the first option instead of solar? Malaysian citizens, really? Or the nuclear industry?

    4) Where are we going to get our uranium – source of nuclear fission? And when it runs out like our limited fossil fuel now, what do we do – scramble around to develop solar and other alternatives again like we do now?

    5) I noticed “development” and “economy” came up pretty often in the discussion, but is it truly possible to have infinite economic growth/development on a planet with finite (and depleting) resources? If it is not possible, why are we not switching to and looking towards developing more sustainable energy (eg. the source of solar is arguably infinite, if not the solar panels), and more importantly changing our way of life to be more energy efficient?

    6) Just because the US, France, Japan, China etc went nuclear, so we must copy them?

    7) With Malaysians’ current maintenance culture, can we really trust our government/TNB to maintain the nuclear power plant(s) efficiently and safely?

    Concluding thoughts: Nuclear looks like another short term solution to our “surging energy demand vs depleting natural resources global but also local crisis”. I don’t claim to have the perfect solutions or answers to the nuclear debate, but if somebody could please enlighten me on the questions posted above, then perhaps I could rest my mind and agree to our govt’s plan to go nuclear.


  17. Wow, this discussion become more interesting.

    In israel they have develop an efficient solar power panel, I read it inside


    Overhype, I guess. Still, we can make “green” industries grow faster powered by nuclear reactor. :-)

  18. Correction, all numbers are in watts per meter square… not in watts per square foot.

  19. hadiharhar,

    1. The simplest and fastest way of Solar Energy generation is via decentralization and feed-in tariff. Empowering the people so to speak. Instead of spending billions of Ringgit in one massive mammoth size nuclear plant and only to get the energy 5 to 10 years later, adopt a change in the current electric tariff to cater for feed-in tariff. Provide subsidies to household willing to install solar panel on their roofs. This is the most efficient way of making use of wasted space. Not clearing off forest as deceptively argued by you. The cost would be much cheaper than a nuclear plant minus the radioactive contamination and fallout risk.

    2. Waste from nuclear plant is not as compact as you would like to make people to believe in. You forgot to mentioned all the low radioactive waste from glove, clothings, googles, helmets, containers, water etc. Mind you these are radioactive waste. Even if it is compact as you would like it to be would you want a radioactive waste storage to built near your house? Nuclear fission energy is dirty and definitely not green.

    3. Wind energy does has its draw back, just as Nuclear. But it has no radioactive risk and it does not generate radioactive waste that has a life cycle of 10,000 years or more.

    4. Saying that energy from biomass contribute to global warming because of its low heat content is a deceptive argument. It is scientifically proven that Biomass fuel itself is a carbon neutral fuel hence not a contributor to global warming in studies conducted by United Nations Development Program (UNDP). UNDP even have a project in Malaysia to generate renewable energy with Palm Oil Biomass, but TNB and nuclear proponents are not interested. Saying that nuclear power plant has no green house effect is also not true. Nuclear Power plant generate massive volume of steam (water vapor), hence the need of the massive chimneys. And it is a scientific fact that water vapors are a much more potent green house gas compared to carbon dioxide. But arguing this way would make me as deceptive as you, hadiharhar.

  20. @Mikey: If the scandinavians can have solar driven energy mix, I don’t see why a tropical country can’t.

    Hi Leong,

    Ok, I see your point. The fact is petroleum/oil/fossil fuel will be depleted soon. I’m no fence sitter but I believe nuclear power will further boost our development faster compared with renewable energy thingy. We can have both, for the main power source we tapped on nuke, but for smaller scales usage, maybe we can go solar or wind farm etc.

    From wiki:
    According to a 2007 story broadcast on 60 Minutes, nuclear power gives France the cleanest air of any industrialized country, and the cheapest electricity in all of Europe.

    See, cheapest electricity (TNB will hate this :)), then IF we more focus on human capital,education & technology development, stop absurd politicking in our country, our childern can have a better life and it’s up to them to handle/treat the nuke waste.

    Don’t rule out nuke for renewable energy. Not now, later can.

    I also can write down 15, or 16 more reason on pros and cons of both options, but I got a better things to do, and for scientific explanation, I doubt people will take it seriously if it from this website.

    I do agree with hadi’s arguement. Renewable energy, say, hydroelectric dam, it will destroy forest as it need larger area.
    We cannont be “green” by destroying “green”.

  21. hadiharhar,

    1) We already have tonnes of Biomass wasted in our Palm Oil estates, using Biomass as a source of renewable energy does not equate to cutting down more trees, this is a poor attempt of deception.

    2) The article never mentioned any dam, again, bringing up dam as only the viable alternative to nuclear is a deception rather than reasoned discussion on your part.

    3) No one ever said that Solar is the only answer, not even this article had said that. What the article said is there are other options that we have not exhausted yet. If Nuclear is really that good as you put it, why is the people in Germany demanding their government to set a time frame to shut down all their nuclear power plant? Mind you, Nuclear Energy is essentially invented by German Scientist. Yes, exploring Solar energy is not mutually exclusive to exploring Nuclear energy. But what irks me is the argument of TNB in that Nuclear is the only viable sustainable source of energy. This is another form of deception by the pro-nuclear people. Nuclear energy use uranium, a scarce material on earth. It is not sustainable. It is also not efficient. As much as 45% of the heat generated by nuclear fissions are wasted in the form of steam up in the big chimney. Even with monsoon season, we still enjoy much more sun shine than any other Mediterranean countries. Yet, countries like France are pushing ahead with Solar Energy. Also, following your line of argument, why is there no initiative to go Solar? Why don’t we explore the Solar option first? Rather than dipping our head first into Nuclear? Your argument fall flat in this regard.

    4) IEEE have reported that the costing of Small Modular Reactor are in fact estimates made by the nuclear industry. A lot of the recent nuclear plants constructions have reported budget overrun to the tune of 400% or more than initially budgeted. That means we would be expecting many billions more of Ringgit to be wasted before the first Watt of power ever generated by the high tech Nuclear Power Plant you are so supportive of. Not to mentioned the underestimation of the Nuclear Plant decommission. Shutting down an old nuclear power plant is not as simple is just turn a key and walk away. It takes years and many more billions of ringgit to shut down a nuclear plant. The Nuclear Plant on the three mile islands had taught the American exactly that lesson. As for Small Modular Reactor. Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer in their IEEE Spectrum magazine have reported that (I quote) “Proponents of SMRs admit that their installation costs may turn out to be as much as or even more than that of today’s behemoths, but they argue that the lower risk involved should make SMRs the better deal anyway.” (end quote) Do you see the deception of the Nuclear Plant industry now?

    Indeed, nuclear is a wonderful source of energy, but it is far from being clean. Questions on spent fuel storage, transportation and disposal are not yet answered. Solutions available today are anything but save and secure, whatever the proponents of nuclear energy are saying, none of them would want a nuclear waste storage be built near their house.

    Nuclear energy in its current form (i.e. nuclear fission) is a dirty energy. Until we have nuclear fusion energy, I think we should only explore nuclear as our last option. Not our first option as TNB and our government is currently doing.

  22. 1. attaining nuclear energy is not a drastic but pragmatic step. it goes a long way unto developing the country’s ability in science.

    2. the question that one has to ask themselves is not whether nuclear is the only way but whether nuclear is the most cost-effective, and secure means of producing sustainable energy which the answer would be overwhelmingly in the affirmative.

    3. i assume then since you did not negate the reasons i mentioned, you are agreeing with it.

    4. if you do have 15 more reasons, then list it down. i’ll be happy to tear each and every one of it apart. after all, this is a discussion, isn’t it?

    5. i’m not saying we should get rid of whatever palm oil we have as that would make the efforts currently underway redundant and i’m sure it would not be beneficial. what i’m saying is that it should not be expounded upon.

    6. again, you still haven’t negated why having a nuclear reactor is mutually exclusive to having all the other means of energy you have mentioned. i assume that you are against it because from your writings, you are leaning more towards not having it. in law, there is no such things as a fence-sitter in an opinion isn’t it?

  23. @hadiharhar: 1. ) palm biomass are by products of the palm oil industry. Unless you are saying we should get rid of palm oil in the country, then palm biomass will always be present. We are just re-using waste to generate energy.

    2.) nothing in the article mentions dams, a form of energy I don’t quite agree with. Need very in-depth social impact study.

    @Mikey: If the scandinavians can have solar driven energy mix, I don’t see why a tropical country can’t.

    Nuclear has its pros, and cons too. Likewise, I can easily list down more than 15 reasons why not nuclear. But that is not the intention of the article. It is just to inform what other cheaper, more logical, and less social impact alternatives we have, before we take that drastic step to nuclear.


  24. But it's the fastest and can cater larger scale electrical distribution.

    Economy over everything. TTH with the slow & costly 'renewal energy'. We need to be like Japan, US, pronto.

    Solar in monsoon season?

    You're writing because it's a cool subject rite? Solar, renewable energy, yet you complain when the internet down, power down, slow train.

    NUCLEAR is way to go. We want NUKE! We want NUKE!

  25. 1. palm biomass would require us to cut down more trees, clear out more green areas to plan more palm trees – not energy efficient / not environmentally efficient.

    2. build more dams? the life span of a dam is only 25 years i.e. efficient enough to produce the needed capacity of energy. and as you have noted, requires a large area.

    3. solar? in moonson season? to explore this is NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE than to having a nuclear can do both dimwit. just saying you can do this too doesn’t negate having a nuclear powerplant.

    4. nuclear energy is more sustainable form of energy. benefits:
    – it’s cleaner burning than oil/palm oil/gas – it doesn’t generate greenhouse gasses,
    – renewable,
    – stable prices compared to oil,
    – The volume of nuclear waste produced in making enough electric energy to run an all-electric household for 30 years would fit in a cigarette package.
    – Nuclear energy is cheap. Even when oil and gas prices are low, nuclear electric energy is competitive with fossil fuel. we had oil crises with the price doubling and more in a few days or a few weeks. Gasoline and fuel oil (and eventually electricity) had to follow the price rise.
    – it’s safer. for every chernobyl, there’s 50+ oil spills. the ratio of accidents involving nuclear plants is too small to compare with the catastrophe caused by oil spills / tankers going down, etc. the more potentially hazardous the matter, the more precautions people take. that’s why companies running nuclear reactors have better safety record than oil companies.

    – i could give you 15 reasons more but am too lazy to write it down.

    summary: you are just a typical common man who calls himself a lawyer but argue something without proper research. READ MORE PLEASE.

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