IAEA sees Asia as driver of nuclear energy

02 September 2016

Asia is one of the regions where nuclear energy is "high on the agenda" and could be one of the drivers for global nuclear power deployment, according to the deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Speaking at a conference in Manila, Mikhail Chudakov said, "There are several member states already operating nuclear power plants, and many more aspiring states [are] exploring the potential for developing nuclear power programs in this region."

Rebirth of Bataan plant

The Philippines is looking into operating its only nuclear power plant, built four decades ago but never used, to ensure the long-term supply of clean and cheap electricity, its energy secretary, Alfonso Cusi, has said.

According to Asia One, Cusi said reviving the mothballed 620 MWe plant in Bataan province, northwest of Manila, will require a $1 billion investment.

"We have to weigh all our options, with emphasis not just on meeting capacity requirements, but sustainability and environmental obligations as well," Cusi told the IAEA conference.

The conference - titled The Prospects for Nuclear Power in the Asia Pacific Region - was held 30 August to 1 September. It was organized by the IAEA in collaboration with the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation and hosted by the Philippines Department of Energy. More than 120 participants attended the event, including representatives from 14 member states.

The conference covered issues such as the legal, regulatory and government support for nuclear power, the management of used fuel and radioactive waste, human resource development and capacity building, and other related technical issues.

"This conference provided a unique opportunity for our member states to discuss the common challenges countries in Asia and the Pacific are facing in introducing nuclear power, and to display the best practices in addressing those challenges," Chudakov said. "This is one of the regions where nuclear is high on the agenda of a number of member states and may be one of the drivers for global nuclear power deployment in the coming years."

Maria Zeneida Angara Collinson, the Philippines' ambassador to Austria and permanent representative to the Vienna-based IAEA, said: "This conference is valuable from many perspectives, including the robust participation of NGOs and civil society representatives, whose support, after all, is a sone qua non to the formulation of a national position on the issue of nuclear power."

There are currently 128 nuclear power reactors operable in five Southeast Asian countries plus Taiwan with a total generating capacity of more than 100 GWe. There are also 40 units under construction and firm plans in place to build dozens more. In addition, there are about 56 research reactors in 14 countries of the region.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Filed under: IAEA, New build, Energy policy