IAEA Reviews Malaysia’s Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development

Kuala Lumpur

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has concluded an eight-day mission to Malaysia to review the country’s infrastructure development for a nuclear power programme. The Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission was carried out at the invitation of the Government of Malaysia.

With rising demand for electricity due to economic growth, declining domestic natural gas resources and increasing reliance on imported coal, Malaysia is considering the potential role for nuclear power in the country’s energy mix.

The INIR team, in its closing meeting with the Government on 17 October, concluded that Malaysia has developed a considerable base of knowledge and is well prepared to make an informed decision about introducing nuclear power. The team made recommendations and suggestions aimed at assisting Malaysia in making further progress in its nuclear infrastructure development.

“Malaysia has a very good understanding of all the infrastructure issues described in the IAEA guide Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power,” said team leader José Bastos of the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section.

The 10-person INIR team - comprising experts from Slovenia, the United Kingdom and the IAEA - highlighted areas where further action would benefit Malaysia, including:

  • Strengthening government commitment and enhancing public awareness in order to progress further towards making a knowledgeable decision.
  • Further developing its legal and regulatory infrastructure.
  • Further developing plans for financing the nuclear power plant and for establishing the owner-operator.

The team also identified a number of good practices that would benefit other countries considering the introduction of nuclear power, including:

  • An appropriate level of resources allocated for the preparatory phase.
  • Processes established to enhance capacity building and ensure that Malaysia has ownership of studies undertaken by external consultants.
  • The establishment of a joint committee to coordinate the activities of different regulatory bodies to be involved in a nuclear power programme.
  • Previously undertaken desk-top siting studies updated to take into account new criteria and lessons learned from the Fukushima-Daiichi accident.

Dr Mohd Zamzam Jaafar, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation, welcomed the outcome of the INIR mission, noting that it was objective and productive, and provided a great learning and knowledge sharing experience.

“The INIR report is a thorough and independent assessment of Malaysia’s state of preparedness based on verified facts and will be a solid foundation for an objective consideration of nuclear energy in Malaysia,” he said.

About INIR Missions:

Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review missions enable IAEA Member State representatives to have in-depth discussions with international experts about experiences and best practices in different countries. In developing its recommendations, the INIR team takes into account the comments made by the relevant national organizations. Implementation of any of the team's recommendations is at the discretion of the Member State requesting the mission. The results of the INIR mission are expected to help the Member State to develop an action plan to fill any gaps, which in turn will help the development of the national nuclear infrastructure.