Singapore minister: Nuclear technology 'not yet suitable'

October 17, 2012

By DAISUKE FURUTA/ Correspondent

SINGAPORE--Tiny Singapore will not introduce nuclear power in the foreseeable future, a Cabinet minister said.

The government, which has been looking to ease the country's heavy reliance on imports for energy, has judged the use of nuclear energy too risky and continues to provide almost all needed electricity through thermal power generation, second minister for trade and industry S. Iswaran told parliament on Oct. 15.

He said the risks of hosting a nuclear power plant still outweigh the benefits in the island state and current nuclear energy technologies are not yet suitable for deployment in the country.

Iswaran was answering questions from a ruling party lawmaker to update them on a nuclear energy feasibility study in the country.

Singapore has been pursuing the feasibility study since 2010 when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated nuclear energy was "an option" to meet the country's energy needs.

However, public opinion urging a cautious approach to the introduction of nuclear energy has been on the rise following the nuclear disaster in Japan last year triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Iswaran acknowledged, based on previous research, that the latest nuclear technology is much safer than that of the past. But he suggested it would be difficult to evacuate in the event of an accident, given that 5.3 million Singaporeans live in an area about the size of metropolitan Tokyo.

However, Iswaran did not totally rule out the possibility of building nuclear power plants in the future, saying the country would wait for further advancements in nuclear technology.

With many other countries building nuclear power plants, he said Singapore will support research in nuclear science and engineering and the training of engineers and experts.

By DAISUKE FURUTA/ Correspondent
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Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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