Malaysia intends to have an operational nuclear power plant by 2021. Multiple individuals and groups oppose the plan. The opposition is based on multiple legitimate concerns. I believe the biggest fear is the chances of a nuclear meltdown. Chernobyl and the Three Mile Island accident are two examples popularly cited to rationalize the fear.  The latest incident around Sendai that included the shutdown of several plants and an explosion in Fukushima is becoming the third example.

It is wrongly becoming a third example.

While the explosion might have led to a meltdown — the latest news reported that the situation is under control now — the explosion itself was caused by a very strong earthquake that is unheard of in Malaysia.

Really, earthquakes in Malaysia hardly deserve the term. Tremors fits the characteristic better and those tremors hardly cause any damage to buildings, if it does at all.

The very limited possibility — out of this world chances — of Malaysia experiencing similar earthquakes that Japan is used to, and especially to the magnitude that Japan suffered several days ago, negates the nuclear incident in Fukushima from becoming a valid case to back anti-nuclear power position in Malaysia. There are many others examples to cite from, but Sendai is just not one of them.

Sendai and Fukushima are just not a precautionary tale for Malaysia. Anyone who thinks so deserves to be accused of being unfamiliar with Malaysia. To make a parallel out of the incident is to ignore local circumstances, which are essentially different to that of Japan’s.

8 Responses to “[2332] Sendai and Fukushima are not in Malaysia”

  1. on 13 Mar 2011 at 18:24 arum0r

    Everyone knows that the nuclear industry around the world work in a very secretive way and prone to cover ups. TEPCO, the utility that operates the 3 nuclear power plants has credibility issues in the eyes of the Japanese people. If the Japanese nuclear regulator did not discount the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe, you are wrong to assert that the explosion at the two plants were harmless. Events may unfold to your opposite, but I pray for the lives of the millions of people in Japan that it is not. These mega structures might bring bountiful benefits but it does come with immense risk and Malaysians ought to be assured 100% that the event unfolding in one of the most technologically advance country in the world will not happen in Malaysia at all.

    BTW, would you want a nuclear plant being built in your backyard?

  2. on 13 Mar 2011 at 19:10 Hafiz Noor Shams

    I wrote that the explosion was caused by the earthquake, and there is no real earthquake in Malaysia. So, the case in Fukushima doesn’t function as a precautionary tale for Malaysia. That’s the main point.

    Did I say the explosion was harmless? I did write it was under control, at least, the news said so last time. Things changed yes but I didn’t say it was harmless. Whether the accident was harmless or not, that isn’t the point of the whole entry.

    On that question, I’m open to the idea, given a number of qualifications.

  3. on 13 Mar 2011 at 23:57 Vincent Ang

    Given the way UMNO do things in Malaysia having a nuclear power plant here is the same as committing suicide. Since UMNO is so confident of their ability to run a nuclear power plant then this plant should be situated in Putrajaya. Fair enough?

  4. on 14 Mar 2011 at 09:28 Hafiz Noor Shams

    Please read what I wrote and cut short on the rhetoric. There’s more nuance to it.

  5. on 14 Mar 2011 at 20:58 Vincent Ang

    ‘To make a parallel out of the Sendai incident is to ignore local circumstances, which are essentially different to that of Japan’s.’

    This is exactly what I mean. I do not know much about Sendai or Japan but I do know that all of what UMNO does eventually leads to corrupt practices. Imagine these corrupt practices influencing the decisions surrounding the design, construction and safety maintenance of the nuclear power plants in Malaysia. Scary enough? However, if you wish to spin the people’s com=concern over the local conditions which ids invariably dictated by the corrupt practices of UMNO in ALL Malaysian construction projects as mere rhetoric then you are at best ignorant of ‘local circumstances’

  6. on 14 Mar 2011 at 21:00 Hafiz Noor Shams

    So, are you suggesting that Malaysia should consider earthquake as part of the risk? My statements should be read in context of the possibility of an earthquake in Malaysia.

    I’m saying no, earthquake is not a consideration without touching on other issues like UMNO, corruption, etc. Those other concerns including yours are valid and do cast doubt about having a nuclear plant in Malaysia. But like I said, earthquake is not a consideration. That’s the point of what I wrote. Remember, the meltdown was caused by a very strong earthquake. Is saying earthquake should not be considered is a effort at spinning?

    Did you take what I wrote as a pro-nuclear power plant? If you did, then you’ve misread what I wrote.

    How about you? Are you saying yes that earthquake of the magnitude Japan just experienced should be a concern with respect to the issue of nuclear power plant construction in Malaysia? Are you saying yes?

  7. on 15 Mar 2011 at 12:30 hishamh

    Whether we build a nuclear facility or not, it should be decided on its merits. And yes, that includes the credibility of the Malaysian Nuclear Agency and the government to manage the risks.

    But earthquake risk shouldn’t be part of that criteria, unless you can physically change the location of Malaysia. Some people have forgotten basic geography. We’re on the Ring of Fire…really? I don’t remember seeing any volcanoes around Malaysia…or did one come up while I was sleeping?

  8. on 17 Mar 2011 at 11:12 teckwyn

    With respect, I do feel that Sendai and Fukushima are precautionary tales for Malaysia. While it is true that Malaysia does not face the same magnitude of earthquakes as Japan, this is perhaps the whole point. The fact is that the Japanese planners knew of the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis before hand. These risks were claimed to have been factored into the design of the facilities.

    See Japanese Nuclear Safety Goals: http://www.nsc.go.jp/NSCenglish/topics/safety_goals.htm

    Similarly, the (lower) risks of earthquakes (& that of floods, meteorites, etc) in Malaysia will presumably be “factored in” if any nuclear facility is constructed here. And presumably we will come up with similar safety goals.

    I am not against the idea of having a nuclear facility in Malaysia (in fact I think we should still seriously consider one). However, I do think that we have a lot to learn from what went wrong in Sendai and Fukushima (and also what did not go so wrong in Tokai, etc.).

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