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Malaysia & Nuclear

Posted by mppunimap_asyraf


DILEMMA USING NUCLEAR POWER IN MALAYSIA:

IS IT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED OR NOT???

RENEWABLE ENERGY
There's a lot of way in what we called Renewable Energy; to generate electricity, such as Biofuel, Geothermal, Tidal Energy, and the most popular Solar Energy and Wind Energy. There were in your comment, that want Malaysia to go for this kind of energy generator. BUT, please keep in mind that Solar and Wind that used solar panel and wind turbine respectively, are very low in effieciency, about 10%. The best solar panel using CIGSS (Cuprum Indium Galium Selenium Sulfur) Thin Film in Nevada was at 18.8% effiecient. That's not all, solar cells produce Direct Current (DC) but we used Alternative Current (AC) in the National Grid. So, we must convert first to AC before connect to distribution grids. Here, there also energy loss for about 12%.

Of course we cannot implemented wind farm in Malaysia simply because Malaysia only experience hard wind during monsoon only. Furthermore, wave energy also cannot be implemented for the same reason.

Denmark Government already spent 1.3 billion Pound Sterling to build offshore wind farm. Japan Government spent 1.0 billion Pound Sterling in photovoltaic (solar panel) technology. Are Malaysia Government ready to 'waste' money like them, with the current technology that we have?

Are Denmark and Japan really lose their money? Not at all. In Denmark, they created profit of 2.0 billion Pound Sterling annually and an industry for 20,000 Danish. Japan hold 50% share for world market and create 15,000 work for a profit 0.6 billion Pound Sterling annually. But once again, are we ready for this? I think, you know the answer. Renewable energy means there were a lot of cost and required high technology to start.


TECHNOLOGY VERSUS CATASTROPHE
Of course you can't compare the effect of Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings. It was used as a weapon, not as an electrical energy. For Chernobyl and Three Mile Island case, today technology so much advanced. Every little aspect being considered, to keep disaster at minimal possibility.

We must know that, natural uranium only contain 1% required Uranium-235. But this can be increase by a technique called Nuclear Enrichment. This technique if not in proper used, can upgrade the Uranium-235 contain from 1% to 90% which was a weapon grade. For reactor grade, 4% of Uranium-235 needed. But enriched uranium also can be imported from commercial facilities on open market. So, Malaysia will have no problem if they afraid to be blame like Iran case, but at a cost. China and Japan have this kind of facilities. With the growth in nuclear technology, Australian scientist already develop nuclear enrichment using Separation of Isotopes by Laser Excitation (SILEX). This technology claimed to be at 33% efficient compared to decades of gaseous diffusion and gas centrifudge.


OUR NEIGHBOUR
We must know that Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia already in their way to build a nuclear reactor. I have visited MINT (now known as Malaysia Nuclear Agency) in Bangi back in 2005. The personnel there told us if one of these reactor blow-out, Malaysia cannot escape the consequences as we really close to them.


GLOBAL WARMING VERSUS NUCLEAR HAZARD
Hydrocarbons largely contribute to Global Warming. The effect are 'not' scientifically proven, as many blame to the industrial sector, transportation sector and other sector rather than to the power plant.

The more we build fossil fuel power plant, the more we contribute to Global Warming. In a long time, we feel the effect, just like now. Earthquakes, tsunamis and floods are everywhere on the world. Even in the past years, Egypt (if not mistaken) experience snow phenomena!

Radioactive waste storage is one of the problems. Some countries using underground repositories. But we must take in mind that nuclear waste takes up little space compared to wastes from the chemical industry which some remain toxic indefinitely.

Nuclear power plants and nuclear reactor are guarded inside a reinforced containment building, and thus are relatively impervious to terrorist attack or adverse weather conditions. Nuclear power does not produce any primary air pollution or release carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere.


THE FUTUROLOGY
If we keep staying away from the nuclear, and wait for the right time, say another 10 years, I am afraid it will be too late. To build a nuclear reactor, it takes for 10-15 years at best to 100% completed. I am afraid at that time our hydrocarbon fuel like coal, oil and natural gas refineries and mines already depleted and at its peak price.

Depleted hydrocarbon fuel, means we already lose 87% of our electric generation capacity. Hydroelectric only contribute 13% to the capacity, eventhough there is a lot of hydro dam (not include 2400MW Bakun Dam).

Starting in 1965, France made large investments in nuclear power and three quarters of its electricity comes from nuclear reactors. Switzerland is planning to cut its energy consumption by more than half to become a 2000W society by 2050 and the United Kingdom is working towards a zero energy building standard for all new housing by 2016. In 2005, the Swedish government announced the oil phase-out in Sweden with the intention to become the first country to break its dependence on fossil fuel by 2020.

Still, where is Malaysia? The best answer must to be blame at the cost and technology.

Yes, Nuclear Power Plant is a non-renewable energy. But estimation from discovered mines, uranium would be last for another 80 years. At least, a long time enough for the world before totally change to Renewable Energy sources.

Prepared By:

Muhammad Rafique

Exco of Leadership

Student Representative Council

Universiti Malaysia Perlis


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