Friday, February 15, 2008

Asia’s tigers eye nuclear future

By Geoffrey Gunn

The 2005-07 spike in petroleum prices topping out at US$100 a barrel has prodded economic planners across the globe to reconsider their energy options in an age of growing concern over global warming and carbon emissions. The Southeast Asian economies, beneficiaries of an oil and gas export bonanza through the 1970s-1990s, now find themselves in an energy crunch as once-ample reserves run down and the search is on for new and cleaner energy supplies. Notably, regional leaders at...

While impoverished Laos is not a candidate for the development of civilian nuclear power, neighboring Myanmar has declared its intention to build at least a research reactor and has sent technicians to Russia for training. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors who visited Myanmar in 2001 were not impressed with the country’s regulatory framework to develop nuclear energy. But the notion that Myanmar is experimenting with nuclear weapons is undoubtedly overhyped as it lacks the capacity to enrich uranium. In fact, of the mainland Southeast Asian countries, Thailand and Vietnam alone are considering nuclear power options, with Vietnam undoubtedly further down the road to the realization of such a dream.

No comments: