Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Do we need nuclear plants?

TWENTY-FOUR years have passed since the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident took place in Ukraine, USSR. The accident had claimed thousands of lives, badly damaged the infrastructure of the affected place and caused environmental destruction. It was reported that Ukraine suffered a loss of more than US$300 billion, some are even of the opinion that the tragedy was the main factor that accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Some attribute the cause of the accident to poor design of older Soviet nuclear reactors while others blame the negligence of the operators and poor communication their organisation.

Whatever the cause the message is clear: Nuclear power plants need to be set up and run in a systematic manner to avoid disasters.

We do not discount the benefits of building nuclear plants in our country, however, the whole process needs to be done according to principles of good governance. If it is done according to good governance, it will benefit the country with cheap and clean energy.

In addition, our scientists and engineers will have a better chance to upgrade their knowledge and skills through technology transfers.

I am not a specialist in nuclear power plants and rarely read about the development of the technology, however, I am concerned about the plan to build nuclear plants in Malaysia. I hope more people will join the discussion on the pros and cons of the move to ensure the outcome is beneficial to the rakyat and nation.

Goh Hoe Hoe
Kuala Lumpur

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