From Waste to Energy

Think-tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU) expresses its disappointment over the government’s stubborn intention to build nuclear power plants and making nuclear energy an alternative source for energy generation in this country, despite witnessing several crises that hit nuclear power plants, as well as the following spread of radiation and public health hazard– including the explosion at the southern French nuclear facility of Marcoule and the Japanese Fukushima nuclear disaster — which are more than enough to address and stress on the major unresolved issues revolving the safety of nuclear facilities.

In early August, the newly appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Mah Siew Keong, who is also in charge of overseeing Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation (MNPC), had announced that a new bill to supervise and regulate nuclear or atomic energy in accordance with the standards and guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is now being drafted and expected to be tabled in the coming Parliament sitting this year. Moreover, he had also made a statement earlier in July that the government will conduct a comprehensive feasibility study on a proposal to build a nuclear power plant in Malaysia in 10 years time, in which would comprise of public acceptance and input from experts and non-governmental organizations, and would be tabled in cabinet once it is readied.

Indeed, the government’s unwillingness to learn a lesson from the experiences of other countries that are far more advanced than Malaysia, either economically or in terms of technological innovation, is discouraging. The connection between public safety and health, and nuclear energy has already been highlighted through the incidents that have been mentioned above and should never be undermined.

It is even unwise to continue with the plan of building nuclear power plants while Germany — which ranked sixth in global energy consumption between 2004 and 2007, and was once Europe’s largest consumer of electricity in 2002 — have already gradually shutting down its nuclear power plant as to eliminate and phase out current use of nuclear power by 2022 and be replaced by renewable .energy.

In India, The newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written in an op-ed for Wall Street Journal. Accepting that the challenges before him are dauting, Modi writes, “When I think of the growth in computing power and storage capacity and its miniaturization that the world has witnessed over the past two decades, I am confident that this can be replicated in renewable energy. With solar and wind power, thousands of Indian villages will be able to get access quickly to reliable, affordable and clean energy, without waiting for large, faraway conventional power plants to be built.”[1]

In this light, KPRU particularly urges the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water to reveal the energy generation mix as transparent as possible, as the related data is not merely essential to drive and veer the future direction of national energy policy in order to ensure sufficient, efficient and safe energy supply, but crucially to justify the need for building nuclear power plants for power supply.

Although KPRU does not deny the urgency to shift the energy generation that based around non-renewable sources, such as fossil fuels, to greener energy production; this does not mean that nuclear power can be an option, before a more strategic green energy solution to energy shortage is being mapped out.

Instead, Malaysia government should now explore the waste-to-energy (WtE) technology and its potential — to generate power from solid waste, given that the palm oil industry produces large amounts of solid waste from empty fruit bunches (EFB), kernels and fibres, and also in view of the increasing solid waste resulted from the failure of 3R (Recycle, Reuse and Reduce) project introduced by the government. Besides leading to a substantial reduction in the overall waste quantities requiring final disposal, this technology is essentially a form of energy recovery, wherein electricity and heat, as well as commodities such as diesel fuel will be produced directly through combustion.

 

[1] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/I-draw-confidence-from-stories-of-ordinary-Indians-Prime-Minister-Narendra-Modi-writes-in-Wall-Street-Journal/articleshow/43503470.cms?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=TOI

Please refer to the Malay edition for a complete report, the English edition is merely a summary of the report. Full report: https://kprumalaysia.org/2014/09/27/sebelum-nuklear-bangunkan-teknologi-waste-to-energy/

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