The major economies of Southeast Asia, a region prone to earthquakes, continue the race to nuclear energy despite the fear caused by the disaster in central Fukushima Japan for over a year.
The leaders of Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, among other prominent representatives of the countries of Southeast Asia, are in Seoul to participate today and tomorrow in the Second Nuclear Security Summit with the leaders of more than fifty countries.
The purpose of this meeting is to promote cooperation to enhance security of nuclear material and prevent it from falling into the hands of hostile or terrorist groups, although the crisis in Fukushima has been prominently on the agenda to safeguard civilian nuclear plants.
While Japan has shut down its nuclear plants and all except one, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand still want to build their own reactors to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
“By participating in the summit, Vietnam wants to demonstrate its policy to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and the promotion of nuclear safety in cooperation with the international community,” said Executive communist country in a statement.
The Vietnamese authorities plan to build eight nuclear plants by 2030 with a total capacity to produce 15,000 megawatts of electricity.
Two years ago, the Hanoi government signed an agreement with the Russian company Rosatom to build its first nuclear power plant of 2,000 megawatts of power in the province of Ninh Thuan in the south the country.
The Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced last February that, at a cost of 10,000 million dollars (about 7,500 million), is scheduled to commence in 2014 and start generating power six years later.
The reactors use low enriched uranium, not suitable for building nuclear weapons, and with strength to withstand earthquakes up to magnitude 10.
In another project is central, the Ninh Thuan 2, with a forecast capacity of 2,000 megawatts.
Indonesia, settled in the area of seismic and volcanic risk of the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, continues with its plan to build four nuclear plants by 2025 to reduce its dependence on oil and coal, despite opposition from groups environmentalists.
Indonesia’s first nuclear plant will be located in the province of Muria, east of Java island and area where is located the same name volcano, dormant for 2,000 years, according volcanologists.
The Nuclear Energy Agency Indonesia, which manages three small nuclear reactors for research, is expected to Muria plant becomes operational in 2016.
After the accident in Japan, Thailand delayed for three years until 2023, its plan to build its first nuclear power plant, a project that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) questioned the detected several anomalies in security field.
Under the plan 2010-2030, Thailand has plans to build five nuclear power plants with total capacity of 5,000 megawatts. The first two were to become operational between 2020 and 2021.
Malaysia has not resigned, although it is reviewing its plans to build two nuclear power plants with a combined capacity of megawatts, while the Philippines was shelved their atomic projects after the tsunami in Japan.
The Thai prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and representatives of Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines have agreed in Seoul to join efforts with the international community to prevent nuclear weapons end up in the hands of terrorist organizations.
In 1995, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed a treaty against the proliferation of nuclear weapons by which member countries can not manufacture or acquire such weapons.
However, Burma, ASEAN member country, has been until recently in the U.S. looks after discovering evidence that the former Burma’s military regime remained fluid contacts with North Korea to have nuclear technology.
The Burmese government in the process of political and economic openness, says that only in an experimental reactor project civil hopes to build with the help of Russian scientists.
ASEAN includes Burma (Myanmar), Brunei, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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