Enhancing Nuclear Energy Governance in Southeast Asia
By Julius Cesar Trajano
The NTS Centre organised a roundtable on “Nuclear Energy Development in Southeast Asia: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities” on 11 December 2018. The speakers were Dr Olli Heinonen, Senior Advisor on Science and Nonproliferation, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Dr Tatsujiro Suzuki, Director, Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition; Dr Sungyeol Choi, Assistant Professor, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology; Dr Alvin Chew, Adjunct Fellow, RSIS; Dr Yutthana Tumnoi, Head of Safety Research and Development Section, Office of Atoms for Peace, Thailand; and Dr Sihana, Assistant Professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering, Gadjah Mada University.
The nuclear experts spoke on nuclear energy plans in Southeast Asia, regional nuclear security cooperation, emerging nuclear safety-security issues in the region, and relevant lessons from Japan and South Korea. Several Southeast Asian states are studying the option to include nuclear energy in their future and long-term energy mix to boost energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, radioactive sources are widely used for civilian applications in medical, industrial, agricultural, and scientific research fields in the region. Without stringent oversight on the use and handling of radioactive materials, there are potential risks of these being accidentally leaked, stolen and used for malicious purposes, or released indiscriminately by terrorists through “dirty bombs”.
The roundtable accentuated that the growing regional cooperation on civilian nuclear energy among ASEAN member states can help plug persistent capacity-building gaps in nuclear safety and security governance. The ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies on Atomic Energy has been conducting regular exchanges of best practices, capacity-building efforts, and assistance to member states to implement key international agreements. Key lessons from Japan and South Korea also highlighted the importance of innovative public communication and education on nuclear energy and its role in climate change mitigation and energy security.
Last updated on 23/01/2019