NGOs: Malaysia must stop nuclear power development plan

Photo by Walter Siegmund, CC

 

By S M Mohamed Idris, President, CAP, SAM & TWN

Civil society organisations from Japan, South Korea, Australia and Malaysia call on the Government of Malaysia to stop its nuclear power development plan.

The groups said they are convinced beyond doubt that nuclear power has no place in Malaysian’s quest to chart a sustainable energy future.

The groups are Friends of the Earth Japan (FOE-Japan), Citizen Nuclear  Information Centre, Fukushima Network for Protecting Children from Radiation, Korea Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM/FOE-South Korea), Friends of the Earth Australia (FOE-Australia), Friends of the Earth Malaysia (Sahabat Alam Malaysia), Consumers Association of Penang and Third World Network.

Following a two-day public forum (Oct 8 and 9) which provided an insight into the potential of energy efficiency and renewable energy to achieve a healthy energy mix in the near future for Malaysia, they urge the government to increase its support for these sectors instead of spending taxpayers’ money on nuclear  technology which has proven time and again to be economically, environmentally and socially harmful.

The forum also heard firsthand of the sufferings of the people of Fukushima from the March 11 tsunami-triggered crisis that saw the meltdown of the three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Eri Watanabe, Nuclear and energy Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Japan said:

“The accident in Fukushima once again reminded us that once a severe accident happens, environmental and social impacts are irreversible.

So far, the Japanese government cannot sufficiently protect their people from radiation.

However, the government still continues its policy to promote exports of nuclear power technology. This is morally wrong because its own people are still suffering so much from the accident.

I strongly recommend that the Malaysian government and people rethink the introduction of nuclear energy for your prosperity and for the next generation.

Hideyuki Ban of Citizen Nuclear Information Centre (CNIC) said:

“The Japanese Government and electricity utilities insisted that Japanese nuclear power technology is superior. However, Fukushima showed us that they were so wrong.

The fallout from the nuclear reactors contaminated a vast land area, the air and the sea. I want the Malaysian Government and its people to recognise that the Fukushima tragedy could happen to any country that embraces nuclear power.”

Representative of the Fukushima Network for Protecting Children from Radiation, Seiichi Nakate said:

“I would not want Malaysian people to experience the tragedy that people in Fukushima are now facing. I came here only because I wanted to tell you this. In Fukushima, more than 100,000 families have been separated because of the nuclear accident. And even now, one million people still live in contaminated areas with deep sufferings and anxiety.

Human beings must abandon nuclear power plants. We must not allow a single nuclear power plant to be built anymore.”

Kim Hye Jeong, Executive Coordinator of KFEM said:

“Korea’s nuclear technologies are questionable as shown by its track record of 646 minor and major accidents in a period of 32 years since the installation of its first nuclear power plant in 1978.

“We are appalled that the APR1400 nuclear reactor that has yet to be commercially tested in South Korea might just be the type of reactor that the Malaysian government is considering buying from us.

We condemn the South Korean Government’s plan to export such sub-standard technology to a developing country like Malaysia under the pretext of international technical cooperation,” she added.

Dr Jim Green, National nuclear campaigner of FoE-Australia said:

“Australian uranium was used in the Fukushima reactors that were destroyed in March. We Australians do not want to be responsible for similar disasters in Malaysia.”

He also said over a 50-year lifespan, a single nuclear reactor is responsible for 1,500 tonnes of high level nuclear waste and a staggering 35mil tonnes of low level radioactive tailings waste. The Malaysian government should not bequeath this toxic legacy to future generations.

He further reminded that nuclear power is the only energy source with the capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction.

“It is far better to choose energy efficiency and renewables,” he added.

Following the forum, several Malaysian civil society groups present pledged to work together in a concerted campaign against the proposed nuclear power plants.