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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Malaysia looking at building its first nuclear plant: report

Malaysian utility Tenaga may construct the country's first nuclear power plant at a cost of 3.1 billion dollars but is braced for objections from the public, a report said on Tuesday.

"We are looking at about 10 billion ringgit (3.1 billion dollars) for a 1,000 MW plant," Mohamad Zam Zam Jaafar, head of Tenaga's nuclear energy taskforce, was quoted as saying by the Edge financial daily newspaper.

"The government has asked Tenaga to look at nuclear power," he added.

The Edge said Malaysia will reveal a national energy blueprint next month.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said in June that Malaysia may consider nuclear power to meet its long-term energy needs amid surging global oil prices.

Mohamad said the taskforce was discussing the plant's location and how to source uranium, adding Tenaga anticipated the public could object to the plant.

"A lot has to be done to change the public mindset when it comes to nuclear," he said.

Mohamad also said Tenaga would likely enter into a joint venture with an "experienced party to build its very first plant."

Currently, half of Malaysia's power plants run on gas. Other sources include coal and hydropower.

Last year, the government said it would build Southeast Asia's first nuclear monitoring laboratory to allow scientists to check the safety of atomic energy programmes in the region.

(Source: AFP)

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