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KUALA LUMPUR: Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster has not deterred the Malaysian government from continuing to pursue a nuclear energy plan.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said that the government was in the midst of analysing Malaysia’s suitability for nuclear energy.

“We’re still studying nuclear energy as an option for the generation of electricity, while taking into consideration the instability of the Japanese nuclear reactor caused by a recent earthquake,” said Najib said in a written response in Parliament.

“The government is analysing short and long-term plans, taking into account all infrastructural aspects recommended by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).”

He was responding to a question posed by Hee Loy Sian (PKR-PJ Selatan) who asked if the government would abandon its plans to build a nuclear reactor in light of the Fukushima disaster.

In mid-March, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was damaged when an earthquake and subsequent tsunami rocked eastern Japan.

Several nuclear reactors at the plant experienced a full meltdown, which led the Japanese government to initiate massive evacuation and cleanup efforts.

Nuclear plants by 2021

The cleanup efforts are still ongoing, with nuclear experts trying to contain the situation from deteriorating further.

Several developed countries, including Switzerland and Germany, have since announced plans to withdraw from using nuclear energy.

Malaysia, however, appears to have no such reservations. Najib said that many nuclear energy-using countries around the world were running stress tests on their reactors in light of Fukushima.

He said that Malaysia’s “relevant government agencies” would be studying the stress tests on these reactors, and using them as studies for considering nuclear energy in the country.

He added that other studies, including looking into suitable reactor sites, were being considered.

The government intends to build two 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plants by 2021, under its Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).