Weekend Roundup reads: Myanmar, Singapore, and Reactor Restart in Japan

UPDATE: There is a group called Thorium for Singapore.

There will be more analyses to follow from all these, but time is pressing at the moment. For now, here are some updates on what had transpired over the week in the nuclear world of Asia/Southeast Asia.

There is interest in nuclear security in Southeast Asia region, with Myanmar topping the list of the US intelligence radar, although it is now pronounced as the model state for embracing non-proliferation after its transformation from the rule of the millitary to democracy, and putting nuclear technology to the sort of unthreatening use that one finds in the rest of Southeast Asia. The latest comprehensive report on the issue by David Santaro of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute rounds up the years of tracking on what exactly was transpiring between Myanmar, Russia, and North Korea for almost 8 years (nobody is going to own up, surely) by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

After the Vietnamese government poured cold water on the state’s nuclear plans, there is a revival of newspaper epistolary exchanges (that had started since the 1950s but which took  a hiatus for many decades, as the Singapore (then Malayan) Straits Times archives will tell you, on why nuclear power is the way to go for Singapore. I am sure many know of the Singapore Nuclear Research and Safety Initiative located at the CREATE building at the National University of Singapore, headed by physicist Dr Lim Hock. Singapore has done a pre-feasibility study in 2012 and it is a matter of time before they move into feasibility studies, like some of its ASEAN neighbours. This report was provided in answer to a parliamentary question raised during the October 15, 2012 session. That said, all countries are not merely doing risk assessment in terms of technical know-how, technical plans of action, and infrastructural assessment – the problem of nuclear liability remains a stumbling block to any full acceptance of nuclear power in Southeast Asia, even as the nuclear vendor hawks are now circling the region to tap into the opening of a new lucrative market. The other issue would be security surrounding the transport of fuel.

In not so new news anymore, Japan is moving actively ahead into reactor restart – I am waiting for news from the ground to see how that would transpire. TEPCO claims that is the way to recoup money for the Fukushima-Daiici disaster cleanup.


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