Malaysian delegation visits China to study its nuclear power programme

Malaysian delegation visits China to study its nuclear power programme
Nancy said although Malaysia was still undecided whether to introduce nuclear energy into its energy mix, it was important for the country prepare and obtain as much information as possible on the industry.
BEIJING: Nineteen Malaysian delegates, led by Minister in the Prime Minister''s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, are on a five-day working visit to China to study its nuclear power infrastructure programme at the invitation of the Chinese Nuclear Society (CMS) starting today.

The delegation is made up of stakeholders and representatives from government agencies such as the Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation (MNPC), Energy Commission, Agensi Inovasi Malaysia, Economic Planning Unit and Malaysian Nuclear Agency, as well as academicians, and Tenaga Nasional Bhd senior executives.

Nancy said although Malaysia was still undecided whether to introduce nuclear energy into its energy mix, it was important for the country prepare and obtain as much information as possible on the industry.

Nuclear power is a complex and sensitive issue that requires deep understanding, thus the delegation''s working visit is crucial in order to obtain direct exposure from relevant countries.

"We need to be prepared (before making any decision). The main role now is to educate. Nuclear literacy is still not there. But people are showing interest. Even in Parliament, questions on nuclear power were being asked, which is a good indication," she told Bernama.
MNPC Chief Executive Officer Datuk Dr Mohd Zamzam Jaafar said the visit would enable the stakeholders to to see for themselves not only China''s nuclear power programme infrastructure, including power plants which were in operation and undergoing construction, but also to study its communication programme implementation.

"China is currently the country with the most (number of) NPPs (nuclear power plants) under construction. They started during the early 80s, learning from everybody, from the Russian, French, Canadian and the US. They have also upgraded their technology post-Fukushima," he said.

Previously, a buyer of nuclear power plants, China is gaining ground on technological expertise and its main objective is to be self-sufficient in nuclear power.

According to the World Nuclear Association, China has 36 NPPs in operation, 21 under construction and more about to start construction.

The impetus for increasing nuclear power share in China is increasing due to air pollution from coal-fired plants.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian delegation is scheduled to visit the China Nuclear Power Engineering Cooperation (CNPE) in Beijing, Qishan Nuclear Power Base in Qishan, about 100 km southwest of Shanghai, and Shanghai Electric Group Co. Ltd.

Earlier today, the group visited the China Institution of Atomic Energy (CIAE) and was briefed on its initiatives such as fast reactor, micro reactor and nuclear security products.

The delegation also visited the Tsinghua University and the China National Energy Administration (CNEA) where its Secretary, Li Yangzhe expounded on China''s energy policy, regulations and strategy.

Malaysia is currently exploring the option of deploying nuclear energy to meet future demand but has indicated that it is not in the rush or set a timeline for the programme.

Currently, coal and gas account for about 50 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively, of the total power generation mix in Peninsular Malaysia, and less than five per cent of Malaysia''s power needs come from hydro, biodiesel and biomass sources.

-- BERNAMA