KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia has a long way to go before the country can develop its own nuclear technology.

Malaysia Nuclear Power Corp (MNPC) Chief Executive Officer, Mohd Zamzam Jaafar, said education and managing public perception, as well as equipping the country with an additional nuclear-related treaty, were on the priority list for nuclear development.

“We are still in preparation mode. Apart from managing public perception, we also need to improve our nuclear law, which has yet to be tabled in Parliament. Nuclear technology is sensitive.

“We have to be a party to certain international agreements before we can access the technology. We have not ratified additional protocol under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and also need to be a party to conventional nuclear safety,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Public Information on Nuclear Energy Seminar here today.

The seminar was launched by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water Secretary-General, Ir Dr Zaini Ujang.

“Going by a Economic Planning Unit study, a reason why we are exploring nuclear energy is due to the imports of coal and liquefied natural gas, which means the security of supply is not so diversified.

“Diversifying the sources of energy is among the policies to secure energy supply in Malaysia and that is why we want to include nuclear energy as part of the energy mix,” said Mohd Zamzam.\

Malaysia is exploring the option of deploying nuclear energy under the Economic Transformation Programme to meet future demand and diversify the energy mix for the country.

A Nuclear Power Development Steering Committee was set up in June 2009 headed by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water to plan and coordinate the preparatory efforts towards deploying nuclear energy for electricity generation.

The committee was studying the possibility of delivering a twin-unit nuclear power plant with a total capacity of two gigawatts, with the first unit operational by 2021.

However, in November last year, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nancy Shukri said plans to develop the first two nuclear power plants had been postponed to after 2030, following a feasibility study and considering the possible effects of natural disasters on the plants.

Meanwhile, in his speech, Zaini said Malaysia was experiencing a remarkable transformation and well on its way to become a top 20 country under the 2050 National Transformation Plan, which would not be possible without great vision, including on energy.

“In fact, energy is also recognised in the new global development agenda as a critical enabler as represented in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 7, which seeks to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” he added.

Zaini said the government continued to invest in the security of energy supply to drive the nation’s growth under the 11th Malaysia Plan, including exploring nuclear energy as future energy options and MNPC would remain steadfast in focusing significantly on public engagement and human capacity.

The one-day seminar was co-organised by MNPC and the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum International Cooperation Centre.