Stop Nuclear Power Now!

We, the undersigned citizens and civil society organisations, under the banner of the Malaysian Coalition Against Nuclear (MyCAN), unequivocally reject nuclear power as an option for Malaysia’s energy needs.

We are against nuclear power for the following reasons:

> Nuclear power is inherently unsafe. Studies have also shown that residents within a 100km radius of nuclear power plants (NPPs) have higher chances of contracting cancer, leukemia and generational DNA defects. Nuclear waste remains radioactive for thousands of years and cannot be disposed of safely. NPPs are vulnerable to natural disasters and accidents, human error as well as sabotage or terrorist attacks.

> Nuclear power is enormously expensive, from the costs of procuring uranium, construction and operating costs of NPPs, to the management of nuclear waste and eventual decommissioning of the plants.

> Nuclear power has never been clean or green. Each step – from uranium ore mining, milling, processing, fuel fabrication, reactor construction, spent fuel reprocessing to eventual decommissioning and waste storage – releases greenhouse gases, radioactive particles and toxic materials that poison the air, water and land.

> Nuclear power will make Malaysia energy insecure due to dependence on foreign technology and supply of nuclear materials.

To this end, we reject the Atomic Energy Regulatory Bill, which is likely to be tabled at the next parliamentary sitting from 19 October to 3 December 2015. This Bill will open the door for the adoption of nuclear power as a source of electricity generation.

We also strongly object to the public fora conducted by the Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation (MNPC), which has a strong vested interest in promoting nuclear power. We view this as no more than a disguised form of propaganda and misinformation for the purpose of promoting nuclear power and building ‘buy-in’ among the uninformed public.

The government has been keeping the public in the dark by withholding information on the true extent of the progress of its nuclear ambitions. On one hand, it maintains that it has yet to make a decision on adopting nuclear power, while on the other, it is preparing to table a bill that will pave the way for the dawn of a nuclear Malaysia.

It has long been the ambition of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration to adopt nuclear power in Malaysia. In 2010, the government adopted the National Nuclear Policy. Nuclear power is also included in the New Energy Policy (2010), and a twin unit nuclear power plant estimated to cost RM 23bn is planned under the Economic Transformation Programme.

In 2011, the MNPC, which reports directly to the Prime Minister’s office, was established to spearhead, plan and coordinate the implementation of a nuclear power programme that was expected to deliver Malaysia’s first nuclear power plant by 2021.

In the recent 11th Malaysia Plan, the following references to nuclear power betray the conclusion that the adoption of nuclear power is not a question of if but a question of when: ‘…communications and public awareness programmes to build buy-in for the development of coal and nuclear power plants required for security of supply …’, and ‘The usage of nuclear power as an alternative energy resource will be explored further. In this regard, an independent atomic energy regulatory commission will be established based on a new comprehensive nuclear law for electricity generation’.

The government’s ambitions are completely at odds with the concerns and views of its citizens. A recent National Energy Security Survey conducted by the Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER) showed that 63.41% of Malaysians are concerned about safety issues of nuclear power plants and 66.61% of Malaysians want the government to first study in detail the nation’s energy needs before considering nuclear power.

We therefore:

1. Call upon fellow Malaysian citizens including elected representatives of the people in the Dewan Rakyat to reject the Bill. We urge all Members of Parliament, on both sides of the political divide to heed the concerns of civil society and their demands that the nuclear power project be terminated on grounds of public health and safety, economics, energy security, environmental protection and sustainable development.

2. Strongly object to any further advancement and public promotion of nuclear power in Malaysia without a genuinely fair and democratic process of public consultation and debate on whether Malaysia should go down the nuclear route. This process of public consultation must be conducted by a neutral body without any conflict of interests.

3. Echo and reinforce the rakyat’s call for a detailed study of the nation’s energy needs first. We further call for genuine reform of the energy sector to avoid going down the nuclear power pathway. We are convinced that Malaysia’s real energy needs, now and in the future, can be met through demand management, energy conservation and efficiency measures, and the nation’s abundant sources of renewable energy, e.g. solar energy. We demand a level playing field for all these measures.

This statement is endorsed by:

1. Consumers’ Association of Penang
2. Institut Rakyat
3. Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
4. Nuke Off! (Belia Tanpa Nuklear)
5. Persatuan Belia Perubahan Iklim
6. Sahabat Alam Malaysia
7. Third World Network
8. Treat Every Environment Special Sdn Bhd

Statement issued on behalf of Malaysian Coalition Against Nuclear (MyCAN).

Consumers’ Association of Penang & Sahabat Alam Malaysia

Press release, 4 August 2015