What are the macroeconomic impacts of introducing a nuclear power programme? Representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia and Viet Nam met recently to address this question and to share their experiences in assessing these impacts.
The IAEA Consultancy Meeting on Macroeconomic Impacts of a Nuclear Power Programme in Southeast Asia was hosted by the Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation (MNPC) in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, from 2 to 6 December 2013. More than 35 senior-level participants identified lessons learned from recent national experiences with quantitative tools used to estimate the economic impacts of nuclear power deployment in Southeast Asia.
The meeting comes at an appropriate time, as designing appropriate national energy strategies to meet developmental needs and to provide sustainable modern energy services for all is becoming increasingly complex. There is a growing number of factors influencing energy choices, and the choices countries make with regard to fuels and energy technologies, including low carbon energy sources such as nuclear power, have social, economic and environmental impacts. Learning to better assess these impacts is key to sustainability.
"Many Member States, particularly developing countries, lack local expertise and experience to comprehensively evaluate all possible energy supply and demand options," said David Shropshire, Head of the Planning and Economic Studies Section at the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy. "The IAEA has been providing technical support to help build local expertise to fill this gap. Our methods and tools can assist policy makers in analysing those impacts and in making informed decisions on the choice of the most appropriate energy technology."
For example, Input-Output (I-O) based studies have been undertaken in Indonesia and initiated in Malaysia to quantify macroeconomic and social impacts of a nuclear power programme, while Viet Nam has studied the economic impact in a broader context of energy policy using the same modelling framework.
"Viet Nam is very interested in applying quantitative tools such as the I-O model to better understand the macroeconomic and social consequences of introducing a nuclear power programme in Viet Nam," stressed Doan Phac Le, Deputy Director General of the Viet Nam Atomic Energy Agency.
Saliza Jam, Manager of Nuclear Power Programme Development of the Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation noted: "Malaysia will further study macroeconomic impacts using the modelling techniques that will be developed by the IAEA based on the outcomes of this Meeting, and later improve on the results based on more objective and technical data/information."
The IAEA helps enhance the capacity of Member States to perform their own energy system analysis and chart out their energy future. Its activities in planning and economic studies assist Member States in supporting rigorous analysis and providing objective information on the economic and environmental aspects of sustainable energy through a range of services and resources, including the Energy, Economy and Environment (3E) Analysis. By building local expertise and transferring state of the art analysis and planning tools, the IAEA helps Member States achieve strategic energy objectives.