KUALA LUMPUR: Plans to develop the nation's first two nuclear power plants have been postponed to after 2030, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Nancy Shukri.
She said the time frame was extended following a feasibility study considering the possible effects of natural disasters on the plants.
"We have extended the time line to consider building the nuclear plants from 2021 to 2030,” said Nancy.
"This is taking into consideration local and international sentiments, particularly the effects of the tsunami that affected the Fukishima nuclear plant in Japan in March 2011," she added when answering a question by Datuk Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harun Narrashid (BN-Kota Tinggi) during Minister's Question Time in Parliament Thursday.
She said that any decision to build the nuclear power plants would be based on the laws governing the use of nuclear power.
"Based on the feasibility study's timeline, it would take more than 11 years to complete the nuclear plants from the date the Government decides to go ahead with plans to build them," she added.
Nancy assured lawmakers that Malaysia was not looking at nuclear power for military purposes, saying that this was in line with the terms laid down in the Asean Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) treaty.
Malaysia is a signatory to the treaty.
"Malaysia isn’t the only Asean nation exploring nuclear power for its energy needs. Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are also studying nuclear power to generate electricity,” she said.
Nancy added that Vietnam had recently signed an agreement with Russia to build the first nuclear power plant in their country
To a question by Dr Che Rosli Che Mat (PAS-Hulu Langat), Nancy assured that the public would be informed if the country decides to move towards nuclear power.
She said the Government welcomes feedback on the matter from all quarters, as any decision to resort to nuclear power would affect the nation as a whole.
The proposed programme to develop two nuclear plants was reported to cost about RM23.1bil.
The projects were supposed to start in 2013 but rescheduled to 2021.