Malaysia looking at nuclear energy use: minister

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - - Malaysia's cabinet will deliberate next month on whether to adopt nuclear energy to combat high global oil prices, a minister said Tuesday.

Last month, state utility Tenaga said it could construct the country's first 1,000 MW nuclear power plant at a cost of 3.1 billion dollars after being asked by the government to look at the option.

"After it is tabled to the cabinet, an announcement will be made on our commitment to further preparations," Science, Technology and Innovation minister Maximus Ongkili told state news agency Bernama.

"This nuclear energy is vital following the increase in the world fuel price and our limited oil reserve. Moreover, nuclear energy is cheap and clean," he added.

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

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.

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