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Malaysian Nuclear Society (MNS)[29/08/2014 9:52:31 a.m.]

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Singapore and nuclear energy....
Lee Kuan Yew ponders nuclear energy option
SINGAPORE, Nov 5 Could nuclear energy be the solution to Singapore's search
for a viable source of alternative energy in the long term?
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said as much yesterday when he
described nuclear energy as a realistic, viable alternative to oil and gas
for producing electricity.
The stumbling block, however, is that even if the decision was made
eventually to build a nuclear power station, the densely populated and
compact Republic lacks the minimum safety distance required for
evacuation in case of a fallout.
"The rule is that you must have the power station at least 30 km
away. Where do we site this nuclear station?" asked Mr Lee as he
delivered the inaugural Singapore Energy Lecture as part of the
ongoing International Energy Week being held here.
Separately, Mr Lee also said that Singapore would eventually be
"forced to cooperate" with its neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia, in
this alternative energy effort. "If we all understand the complexity and
the immensity of the problems the world faces, and what we will face
in South-east Asia, then we should have a common pipeline and
common grid so that (the energy) is transferable."
On Monday, members of the high-powered International Advisory Panel
on Energy, which met for the first time, proposed that nuclear power
could form part of Singapore's evolving energy strategy. This
suggestion, among others, is already being studied by the government.
The panel also said that nuclear research and even a nuclear power
plant should not be left out of Singapore's range of long-term solutions,
even as the long-term costs and safety and waste management issues
had yet to be carefully studied.
In his 75-minute dialogue with a 500-strong audience at the Raffles
City Convention Centre, Mr Lee said that Singapore's options for
alternative energy were severely limited, with no wind power or strong
tides that could generate power.
Singapore is already venturing into solar energy, with Norway's
Renewable Energy Corporation already starting construction on a
S$6.3 billion solar cell plant in Tuas View.
Even so, Mr Lee wondered about the plant's ability to satisfy the
country's energy needs..
"The Norwegians are seeking investments for the solar plant, to do
research and development. But how much (energy) can it supply?
Whatever it is, we have got to try every little way to minimise the use of
carbon fuels."
Last month, the Energy Market Authority said that while solar power
has some potential, it realistically could not replace more than a small
proportion of Singapore's energy needs. Solar is also more expensive
than electricity generated from natural gas, although the technology is
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Malaysian Nuclear Society (MNS)[29/08/2014 9:52:31 a.m.]
still improving and costs are gradually coming down, said the statutory
During the question-and-answer portion of the dialogue, Mr Lee was
asked whether he felt Singaporeans were ready to pay more for
renewable energy energy generated from natural resources such as
sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat which are all
naturally replenished.
To which the Minister Mentor replied: "Singaporeans are cost-
conscious. They don't care where the energy comes from, they just
want to know which is the cheaper option."
This quarter, electricity tariffs in Singapore went up by 21 per cent
the highest one-time increase in nearly seven years. Tariffs, which are
reviewed every three months, have soared for five consecutive quarters
since July 2007 due to rising oil prices.
Mr Lee went on to say how the government had tried its best to
encourage more drivers here to switch to energy-efficient hybrid cars, a
move that has been met with a lukewarm response so far because of
the higher costs involved.
"We have reduced the taxes, but Singaporeans have decided, 'No,
we'll take the non-hybrids," said Mr Lee. Business Times Singapore
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