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Tenaga Nasional awaits govt go signal for nuclear energy

After announcing that they will complete Malaysia's first nuclear plant by 2025, Tenaga Nasional Berhad may push plans forward until 2028.

TNB, Malaysia's largest power supplier, is pursuing the use of nuclear energy before a power crunch catches up and needs 15 years from the day it starts working on the project to put up the plant. It is waiting for the government to finalize its decision up to 2013.

TNB president and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamed Noh broke down the 15-year period as follows:

Two to three years are needed to identify the site and convince the public that a nuclear plant is safe and more cost-savings and efficient. After that, another two or three years is needed to get approval from the international nuclear agency. Lastly, construction of the plant will take about seven to eight years.

Malaysia's gas reserves are depleting fast, while coal—an imported energy source—is getting scarce, making it more costly to buy.

TNB nuclear energy head Dr Mohd Zamzam Jaafar said that the country has to prepare for a nuclear future as present energy sources faced uncertainty amid volatile prices and scant resources.

He noted that by 2019, current gas resources would have dwindled and the country would need to double its import of coal, making nuclear energy technology the best option forward.

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