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ENVIRONMENT | Staff Reporter, Indonesia
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Half of ASEAN will go nuclear by 2035

Nuclear energy operations may reach up to a capacity of 2,000 to 5,000 MW by 2040.

Half of ASEAN is predicted to operate their first nuclear power plants and reaping the benefits of cheaper electricity to augment their soaring consumption.

It is projected to begin nuclear energy operations in 2035 and reach up to a capacity of 2,000 to 5,000 MW by 2040, said Dr. Ing Kusnanto, manager of ACE-Canada nuclear & radiological programme administrative support, citing projections from the 5th ASEAN Energy Outlook.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam have put interest to pursue nuclear energy in their plans and are in their first phase of preparations to build a nuclear power plant. Kusnanto noted that whilst these five nations are in different stages of preparation in pursuing their first nuclear power plant, they have established or are in the process of creating a Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization, or NEPIO, which coordinates related stakeholders and develops the roadmap of the national nuclear power programme.

Furthermore, the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review mission has been done in the five countries. Stronger cooperation will also assist the region to build up the necessary expertise, safeguards, and stakeholder support to roll out their nuclear power programmes, said Kusnanto. Some of the region’s key strategies until 2020 include setting up regulatory frameworks, bolstering civilian nuclear safety and emergency response.

Acceptance will be key “I think the public acceptance, capacity building and human resource development are still in the critical first phase,” said Kusnanto. “A very strong policymaker is very important to realise the nuclear power programme in ASEAN, as are the nuclear business aspect, industry improvement and national capacity building.” “Nuclear energy in ASEAN is very important to achieve the energy security, accessibility, affordability and sustainability in the future,” said Kusnanto. This can be seen in the case of Indonesia, a country facing rising demand for electricity.

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