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Special Report: Examining Nuclear Energy Ambitions in South-east Asia

August 2011


This Special Report by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) accompanies the 4th annual ASEAN & Asia Forum (AAF), organised by the SIIA on 4 August 2011. The report discusses plans for nuclear energy among countries in South-east Asia, and what needs to be done after Fukushima.

This report summarises the status, outlook, and ambitions for nuclear energy generation in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, both before and after the accident at Fukushima in March. The positions of Singapore and of Myanmar are also reviewed.

From there, the report looks at common concerns and challenges arising from nuclear programs in the region, especially looking at public perception, environmental impact, security and transparency. The need for technical know-how and opportunities for regional cooperation are also considered. Having examined these shared challenges, this Special Report suggests some key policy recommendations, both at the regional and national levels. These recommendations include measures to strengthen legal frameworks, boost safety and increase regional collaboration.

The conclusion of this report is that South-east Asian countries must be aware of the full spectrum of risks surrounding nuclear energy before making an informed decision on whether to proceed with nuclear power plans. Countries should also explore other available options, such as improving energy efficiency and promoting renewable energy. If countries do go ahead with nuclear power programmes, then there must be renewed emphasis on proper processes to ensure that plans proceed with the necessary transparency and consultation. Only when countries have approached these processes comprehensively can they hope to implement a successful nuclear programme and reap its full benefits.

This is our first report on nuclear energy and grows from our extensive work on regional cooperation and ASEAN, as well as on environmental concerns.



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