Singapore must be prepared to handle nuclear developments: Experts

By Monica Kotwani/CNA/27 Sept 2015

SINGAPORE: As the region increasingly looks to nuclear power plants to solve its energy woes, experts say it is critical for Singapore to be adequately prepared.

While Singapore has kept its own nuclear plans on the back-burner, authorities need to engage the public and educate them on nuclear developments in the region.

For decades more than 30 countries have been generating power in some 400 nuclear plants. In 2012, about 10 per cent of the world’s electricity was generated from nuclear energy, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute website.

But the shock of the Fukushima disaster in 2011 reverberated across the world and prompted countries with nuclear power to take stock of the safety of their plants.

Some European countries like Germany are taking their plants off the grid, instead importing nuclear-powered electricity from France. In Asia, plans have been delayed but not derailed. China and India, between them, have almost 50 nuclear plants in operation and are building even more.

In Southeast Asia, Vietnam could have its first power reactors by 2020. Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have also made plans.

“Southeast Asia is quasi-completely dependent on fossil fuels,” said Professor Arnoud De Meyer, President of Singapore Management University. “There are a few exceptions of windmill-generated or other forms of energy but practically all electricity generation is based on fossil fuels, which makes this part of the world very dependent on supply from elsewhere.”

Nuclear-based energy can add security and stability to the region’s source of energy. For Singapore, 95 per cent of its electricity comes from natural gas powered plants. Its cost is tied to oil prices. Read More