KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says Malaysia will not use nuclear power plants to generate electricity even though it may cost less.
He said not enough was known about nuclear energy, whether it was used during “peace or war”.
Although progress had been made on the matter, scientists were still unable to find ways to dispose of nuclear waste, he said in his keynote address at the Conference of the Electric Supply Industry (Cepsi) 2018 today.
He said it had been the government’s policy not to use nuclear plants to produce electricity.
“That was the policy during my time as the 4th prime minister but it was not (like that for) the 5th and 6th prime ministers.
“But now I am back,” he said.
He further told hundreds of participants who attended the conference that Malaysia needs to find less polluting means of producing electricity.
He said Malaysia is fortunate as it has a constant supply of electricity generated through burning of fuel, charcoal and hydroelectric power.
“But we don’t believe in generating power through nuclear power. A lot of people wanted to have nuclear power when I stepped down (in 2013).
“I am against nuclear power. It generates radiation in this country,” he said.
He added that waste from radiation material is not easy to dispose of.
“We cannot find a place. We need to bury it deep in the ground. If we dispose of it in the sea, fish would suffer. We cannot do that.”
He reminded participants there were hundreds of nuclear power plants around the world, and there would come a point when experts would not know how to get rid of the plants.
“That is why we have decided not to use nuclear power in Malaysia.”
He said Japan, which relies on nuclear plants, often faces problems during earthquakes, causing radiation in the area.
“Residents are unable to go back to their homes because of the radiation.
“If there is a nuclear war, the whole world would be radiated because if you blow off large amounts, the radiation will be all over the world.”
He said Malaysia would still depend on coal to produce electricity as Malaysia still has a lot of it.
“Not only in Batu Arang, but also in Sabah and Sarawak.”
Mahathir also spoke on the emergence of electric cars.
“Now, electric car batteries can run for 200km (on one charge) but batteries are costly. It would cost twice as much as internal combustion engines.”
However, Mahathir says there can be hybrid engines, combining internal combustion engines with engines running on electricity.
“These are things that are being developed.”