News / Asia

Southeast Asia Nuclear Power Plans Unfazed by Japan Emergency

The earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant located in the town of Okuma in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on March 14, 2011
The earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant located in the town of Okuma in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on March 14, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Daniel Schearf

The nuclear emergency in Japan has renewed debate about the safety of nuclear power in the Asia Pacific, possibly the world’s most natural-disaster prone region. Southeast Asia has no working nuclear power plants, but most countries there plan to develop nuclear power despite the emergency.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam plan to build nuclear power plants in the next decade and others in Southeast Asia hope to follow them.

But the nuclear emergency caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan has raised concerns about the safety of developing nuclear power, especially in countries vulnerable to natural disasters. The Asia Pacific region is every year struck by earthquakes, tropical storms, monsoon floods and landslides.

Following the disaster in Japan, some officials and activists in the region are urging a re-thinking of pursuing nuclear energy.

Vietnam Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Vuong Huu Tan says his country is watching the emergency in Japan closely and is aware of public concerns. But he says they do not expect it to affect their plans to build at least eight nuclear plants.

Vuong says they will use the latest nuclear technology, which he says will be safer than the older technology used at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

"We will choose the advanced nuclear power technology,” Vuong said. “It means maybe we choose the technology of generation three or three-plus. It is very good when the accident like the earthquake in Japan you see."

Vuong says they plan to begin construction of Vietnam’s first nuclear-power plant in three years. Thailand plans to build up to five nuclear power plants by 2025.

Following the emergency in Japan, the Thai government said it would also take into account concerns about nuclear safety as it became more of a public focus.

But Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn says it would not delay their nuclear power development.

"Until we know for sure what happened in Japan, I think several governments may require more information on this issue,” said Panitan. “So, I think 'yes', certainly it raises some concerns, but these concerns are not new. Hopefully, our committee who are working on this issue will come up with a comprehensive picture of this."

Panitan says if there is any delay in Thailand’s nuclear-power plans it would be from technical difficulties and feasibility studies and not in reaction to Japan’s nuclear emergency.

Southeast Asia specialist Carl Thayer, of Australia’s University of New South Wales, says the emergency in Japan may cause a review of safety planning for nuclear risks in some countries. But he says Southeast Asia’s fast-growing demand for power means it has few alternatives to pursuing nuclear energy.

"You have hydro power, you can go to bio fuels, you can use wind power,” Thayer said. “But the growing size of the economies, rise in consumption, people moving up the scale with gadgets and things in their homes that consume energy, all that would have to be held in advance not to lead to these massive demands for energy."

Built in the 1980's, the Philippines’ Bata'an plant is the only nuclear power facility in Southeast Asia, but because of concerns about earthquakes and a nearby volcano it was never used. The government, however, is considering reviving the plant in order to meet its energy needs.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid