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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

US Official Says Malaysia Ready for Nuclear Energy

Malaysia is well-positioned to embrace nuclear energy to power up its homes and industries due to its good power infrastructure, robust economy and strong leadership attributes in the region.

US Department of Energy deputy assistant secretary Edward McGinnis said the US recognises Malaysia as a regional leader in the research and development of advanced alternative energy, including nuclear.

"The US regards Malaysia as a partner in promoting peaceful and safe uses of technology including nuclear energy.

"We are in the process of extending an invitation to the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) to join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) at its next meeting in October in Paris, France," McGinnis told Business Times in Kuala Lumpur recently.

GNEP is an organisation of 21 countries, three permanent international non-government observers (comprising the International Atomic Energy Agency, Generation IV International Forum and Euratom) and 17 participating observer countries.

All members share a common vision of advancing new technologies to make possible the expansion of safe, clean nuclear energy to help meet growing global energy demand in a safe and secure manner.

Members include all the nuclear majors such as the US, France, Russia and the UK as well as other partners like Senegal, Jordan, South Korea, Ghana and potential candidates and observer countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, Morocco and Finland.

Partner nations also aim to improve the environment through effective nuclear waste or spent fuel disposal and reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation.

"Asia already has Japan, Australia and China as partners and we are also in the process of extending our invitation to Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia," said McGinnis.

He said GNEP provides member countries and new potential members the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss possible collaboration in furthering Malaysia's interest in using nuclear energy after 2020.

"If Malaysia chooses to join the partnership, other member countries will offer expertise, skills, knowledge and financing mechanism.

"Admittedly nuclear energy requires significant investment upfront, but it will become profitable and economically viable in the long term due to reactor reliability. It is also a source of clean energy," he added.

McGinnis however said nuclear energy is not to replace other energy sources but to complement them such as hydro, solar, gas, wind, and spent fuel will be disposed of in a safe manner.

Member countries participating in GNEP voluntarily engage to share efforts and gain the benefits for economical and peaceful nuclear energy.

Cooperation among member countries will be carried out under existing and new bilateral agreements as well as existing multilateral arrangements.

(Source: Energy Central)

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