Malaysia to build first nuclear monitoring facility in ASEAN

By Xinhua

Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia will build a nuclear monitoring facility, the first one in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), at a location in Bukit Ibam near Muadzam Shah, Pahang state, it was announced Saturday by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

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The facility, worth 100 million ringgit ($29.41 million), will be the 16th of its kind in the world.

“If all goes well, Malaysia will become the first developing country to have its own nuclear monitoring facility and the first in ASEAN,” Razak said at a ‘Leaders Meet the People’ function.

Also present was Science, Technology and Innovations Minister Auk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis.

Work on the facility on a 200-hectare site was expected to start by the end of the year and should be completed in three years, Jamaluddin said.

“It will be managed by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and its main function is to ensure that nuclear energy use in the region is only for peaceful purposes and not for making weapons,” the national news agency Bernama quoted him as saying.

It was being built in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) based in Vienna, Austria, Jamaluddin said.

“It also will play a role to ensure Malaysia and the region continue to remain free of any nuclear threat.”

On the experts needed for it, Jamaluddin said all would be locals and that 66 people had already been identified.

“Countries in Southeast Asia have plans to build nuclear reactors to generate electricity. Indonesia will commence its nuclear energy programme in 2016, Vietnam in 2018 and Thailand in 2021.

“As such, this facility in Malaysia will help ensure there is no nuclear proliferation in the region.”