18 March 2016
Since the devastating Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, debates have been ongoing among key stakeholders (governments, nuclear vendors, NGOs and academe) on whether Southeast Asia should use or reject nuclear power.
Five years ago, in March 2011, a powerful earthquake off Japan’s northeast coast triggered a massive tsunami that led to a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant. Unsurprisingly, that disaster prompted numerous national governments, including in Asia, to re-examine their nuclear power development plans and safety regulations. Even in Japan until today, its nuclear industry and government are struggling to revive all of the country’s nuclear power plants (NPPs). Just recently, a local court ordered the shutdown of two nuclear reactors, citing insufficient safety measures put in place. Despite new safety standards introduced in 2013, much of the public remains wary. Only a handful of the 43 operable reactors in Japan have implemented the new post-Fukushima safety regulations.
Nonetheless, as the world commemorates the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, there is now a significant shift from Europe to Asia in nuclear power production, led by China. While the Fukushima accident in 2011 tempered what could have been an unprecedented nuclear energy growth in the region, the global nuclear industry is now pinning its hopes on Asian economies. In Southeast Asia, Vietnam is set to commission its first nuclear power plant (NPP) by 2025 while Indonesia has long been preparing for the possible utilisation of nuclear power.
… Julius Cesar I. Trajano is Associate Research Fellow with the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 21/03/2016