Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Lim GE is wrong on nuclear plant

Most of you dear readers know I admire Karpal Singh and politically favour the DAP, principally because of its 'Middle Malaysia' stand and its CAT (competency, accountability and transparency) policies, and lack of corruption.

But no I’m neither a member of the party nor a devoted supporter, unlike my erstwhile Facebook matey, Antares, who is a wonderfully devoted acolyte of Anwar Ibrahim wakakaka.

I also admire Uncle Lim Kit Siang for his decades of unfaltering commitment to his political ideals. I was particularly pleased when he achieved what could be his almost-swansong in seeing the BN denied of that magic 2/3 majority – mind you, not that it prevented the EC recently from unconstitutionally transferring over 200 voters out of Hulu Selangor without Parliamentary consent, proving that the BN and its apparatus don’t give two f*s about the law.

His son Lim GE is OK I suppose, though I learnt he’s a bit of a tight-ass, meaning he’s real kiamsiap (ultra thrifty with money) which qualifies him to be a honorary Penangite wakakaka.

But I don’t always agree with them. For example, as reported in Malaysiakini’s Critics question need for nuclear power plan Lim GE and others (not forgetting sweetie Eli Wong) are against Malaysia’s plan to build a nuclear power plant to be operational by 2021.

They throw in all sorts of arguments on why it would be dangerous, using Chenobyl and its disastrous meltdown as an example.

Chenobyl was never a typical example of good management of nuclear plants especially in the western world. In fact it was a gross example of all that were bad, crude and blundering under the old Cold War incompetency of the USSR – hardly a fair example of how a modern nuclear plant would be managed safely.

If we have had nuclear plants earlier or even had had plans to build them, Bakun would never have been necessary or conceived with all its attendant adverse ecological consequences.

The oft-touted misinformation that nations are leaning away from nuclear plants is what it is, misinformation or sheer nonsense. The USA is stuck right into it in a new energy strategy to avoid overdependence on Middle East oil, and likewise with China and India and their growing energy needs. Even oil rich Saudi Arabia has plans to build a few. Fossil fuel, no matter how much, will run out eventually.

Most efficiently run would be the French network of nuclear power stations. Wikipedia said that since 2002,
Électricité de France (EDF), which is the country's main electricity generation and distribution company, manages the country's 59 nuclear power plants - that's right, not one but 59 of them.

In 2008, it was recorded that these plants produce 90% of EDF's and about 78% France's electrical power production (of which some is even exported), making EDF the world leader in production of nuclear power by percentage. Just imagine, 80% of France's electrical needs are supplied by nuclear plants - they most certainly can give two fingers to Saudi Arabia.

The fact is nuclear power has become the primary source of electricity in France,
the highest percentage of nuclear energy in the world.

Now, does anyone want to argue with France about the potential for Chenobyl-like disasters in that country?

But the French aren't wanting for the winching Wendy's. They have already launched a new generation nuclear reactor, the EPR (European Pressurized Reactor).

Unfortunately there is an unfounded fear of nuclear power. As I mentioned in my post last year Damn those dams “Fire, as we know, is a good servant but a bad master. It’s an old English saying which means that fire is very useful when it is under one's control, but very dangerous when it is not. Likewise with nuclear power!"

So I reiterate, I disagree with Lim GE's position on Malaysia acquiring a nuclear power plant, because if we fail to plan for one now, we'll be left so far behind we'll never ever catch up with our energy needs.


  1. Eh..KT , so you won't mind if a nuclear power station is located in your neighborhood ?

  2. Question is (still): Can we ever trust the kind of maintenance mentality we've seen over the years? It's been always 'hangat tahi ayam' style. So there's always the big 'IF'....

  3. LGE miss the facts doesn't mean building nuclear power is viable.

    The biggest problems lies on the uranium supplies and nuclear waste disposal. USA has a vast landscape desert, while France dump waste to other country. OTH, Malaysia tropical landscape are very bad to handle nuclear waste. The waste management relies on other country.

    Lies beneath equator, Malaysia should have developed safer,sustainable and controllable wind power and solar power. Ironically, these kind of power are more efficient and more economical deploy to remote area compare laying huge power grid
    from power plant far away.

    But the bad news is, this kind of "decentralise grid" concept require the decentralise power policies, e.g. TNB monopoly must come to the end. When this happens, state government can even deploy their own wind/solar power plant.

  4. there is always pros and cons.

    my biggest worrier is that we are 1st class in hardware but 3rd class in maintenance. You need 1st class maintenance to prevent any disaster. I don't think government has such 1st class technical personnel.

  5. "If we have had nuclear plants earlier or even had had plans to build them, Bakun would never have been necessary or conceived with all its attendant adverse ecological consequences."

    You have fallen victim to UMNO/BN's spin/BS.

    With a 50% reserve margin now, we never really needed Bakun or the IPP's!!

    we are all of 1 race, the Human Race

  6. what makes you think we can handle the plant better than the russians.

  7. Part of my professional background involves the operation and safety of certain equipment containing highly radioactive material, which I'm a certified operator (not nuclear power plants, of course, but I'm familiar with the technology; I have professional acquaintances overseas who actually are reactor engineers.)

    The operation of such nuclear power plants involves strict adherence to the very highest standards of quality and competence throughout the design, construction, maintenance, daily operation and waste disposal. This is a technology with literarily zero margin for error. You make a mistake, and you and a lot of other people could die, as in DIE....

    Malaysia's political and government
    system, with its penchant for Rent-Seeking, Corruption, Abuse of Power, Project Contracts awarded based on Political Know-Who, Blanket Secrecy, Suppression of Dissent etc. etc.....
    Sh*t...we can't even run a safe express bus system on our about nuclear power station operation...

    When I add the sorry state of governance in this country to the deep risks and challenges of nuclear power generation, the thought scares the hell out of me.

    I don't want to get into partisan stuff about BN/UMNO/DAP/PKR etc.
    Suffice to say I do not trust this country's governing system, as things stand, to build and operate a nuclear power station safely for xx number of years....

    Might be a good idea for you to keep yourself far away in Australia when they finally operate this Malaysian nuclear power station , Ya..

  8. Wow, you sure have trust and high confidence in Malaysian mentality and work ethic. Look at the state of Malaysian public toilet, nothing but a disgrace. You entrust them to run a nuclear power plant? Nightmare!
    We don't need Bukun, we don't need to go nuclear, try solar power. Sunshine all year round for free.

  9. As much as I would be inclined to agree with you, especially with the rising population, energy requirements, and oil running out by perhaps the middle of the 21st century, would you consider our current government to be capable of managing a nuclear power plant?

    Sure, it might be able to provide enough power for all of Malaysia and more, but the manner of which the plan was introduced was rather sneaky. No discussion in Parliament, no word of it in the Senate, nothing. Just wham, bam and suddenly you've got a Minister saying that nuclear is the way to go.

    For that matter, there are the issues of maintenance, waste management and suitable sites. Have these thoughts been laid out in detail or are they still in the planning stage? If it's still in consideration, then why the announcement of the plant in 2021?

    Of course, there's talk about looking towards greener forms of energy, though these sources -solar and wind- are sketchy at best, and are wholly dependent on weather and terrain. They may be able to provide enough power for some portions of the country, but these energy sources are hardly consistent (we haven't exactly tried these methods either).

    What about all those hyrdoelectric dams being built in East Malaysia? Don't we already have more than a dozen (don't quote me on this) lying up and about all over Sarawak? Aren't those enough?

  10. moo, precisely because Malaysia lies on the equator, the wind here is not of some strength and regular like places in the higher latitudes of (Holland, northern parts of China, southern parts of Australia etc). It's a factor of geostrophic force. Thus windmills would be useless in equatorial countries like Malaysia.

  11. Two other points I forgot in my previous comments:

    (1) I want to see most of the dams built, being built or planned to be built (whether in Sabah, Sarawak or Semenanjung) removed - let the rivers and streams flow and sustain the ecology, fauna and flora, and thus the natives who prefer to maintain their way of life - see my previous post 'Damn those dams' - clean nuclear power will stop those (past, now and future) arguments for hydro-electric dams like Bakun

    (2) re 3rd mentality in maintenance policies and discipline, we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater - we must train the technicians and administrators; besides (here's a motivating proposition for Pakatan people) the Pakatan could well be the next ruling party ;-), which brings us to an important point, where there's an appalling lack of bipartisanship on good infrastructural development issues which can (and have) only disadvantage the Rakyat - eg. the BN marginalization of both Kelantan and Penang infrastructural development, and the stepchild-like treatment of Sabah and Sarawak (mind you, the CM of Sarawak has not been very amenable to federal schemes when he reckons these may take away his 'options')

  12. Damn, you are talking about a country with a government that closes one eye to meritocracies. where corruptions are rampant,stadium collapsed, submarine cannot submerge, DPP of MACC "tak tahu," immigration record disappears,... need I say more?

  13. KT,
    ONE CAN TALK LIKE A book on Nuclear energy but at what cost on the waste spent fuel.You are talking of commercial radiated uranium.How to you dispose this WASTE ?In the USA, they bury them deep ,deep down in the mountainous regions.Then you have to guard them zealously from the OSAMAS !
    Secondly please check our maintenance culture on such plants and you only have to see KLIA airport to see the standards set there! Terrible man!
    Therefore in bolehland , having a nuclear plant is just an excuse for those umno pukis to enrich a few just like the najibs and mahathirs!Period!

  14. I don't like the idea of dams in Sarawak, but you know as well as I that as long as the White-haired Rajah remains in power, well, those dams are going up no matter what.

  15. As some here have said, all the mega projects are given to cronies, built with sub-standard materials and maintained by KULIFIED personnels. Can we trust the project to be 100% leakage or trouble free?

    Look around and you can see many of those mega projects failed already in one way or another. We cannot afford to have a single incident in this kind of high risk power generation project.

  16. Even Equator wind speed are "weaker", deploy it offshore near the coast will move the turbine. BTW,low speed wind power turbine also available now. The real issue of wind power plant lies on the energy policies.

    Any country serious about energy policies, will look into energy conservation and production. FYI, even country like Thailand are ahead of Malaysia about energy conservation.

  17. just answer me this .. where do you plan to dispose of the waste products? oh i forgot you don't live in malaysia anymore...

    i believe we borrow the world from our children.. so don't leave any shit for them to clean up...

  18. How do France, Britain, Japan dispose of their waste? We do the same!

    Yes, you are right in that we borrow the world from our children, so it's our duty to stop cringing and make the righful decisiona nd palnning for them - nuclear energy like fire is a good servant; it's up to us to make sure it does not become a bad master

  19. KT, maintain a nuclear plant is not toy play for our boleh, ketuanan ppl, better forget the idea until maybe 2030,
    nuclear power plant still need uranium etc, if we have one such plant, we will depend on others to give us the material/technos, better go for photovoltaic (solar) energy lah, much simpler.

  20. technology for harnessing sun energy has still a long way to go; currently it has very limited capacity and applications. We cannot afford to wait and hope the technology will miraculously make a quantum jump to be our energy saviour - too risky an option as we could be faced with nothing.

    Thus we cannot shirk dealing with the only practical energy source that can ensure our future generations won't be grossly disadvantaged. We will eventually run out of our gas and oil, and begin to be a major fossil fuel importer.

    Short of having hydro-electric dams all over the country to the even greater detriment of our environment we must tackle the nuclear bull by its horns. The reality is we have no viable choice.

    Ethiks 'boleh' sekarang memang perlu diubah menjadi 'boleh' yang benar.

  21. eh..KT...maybe some of your facts arent really right....most of the power plants in msia are coal powered....and there are other really good energy sources such as solar and hydroelectric..although expensive...its much better than to squander the money with White Elephant projects...we have many lakes and sun to do so....and believe me when Lim GE criticised the nuclear plant...he wasnt pointing at the faults of nuclear put it in another way...msians are mediocre when it comes to management and what jack nicholson has been reaffirming all along.." YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"....or in this case..."WE CAN'T HANDLE NUCLEAR!"....this is a classic case of a young boy walking around with a loaded gun....i believe Lim was right..he has been right all along....although a bit too idealistic maybe