While Malaysia has big plans to go into nuclear energy, it is still grappling with radioactive waste from the Asian Rare Earth facility in Papan more than 20 years ago.
The Sunday Star carried an excellent write-up on Papan here. (Too bad it was not a cover story but instead appeared deep in its inside pages.) Aliran also carried a story here. In both pieces, Mahathir’s claims on the real situation there have been exposed. During his administration, folks were arrested under the ISA for standing up to protect their area from radioactive waste. It is only in recent years that action is being taken to reduce the danger. Now, the real story emerges. What has Mahathir got to say to those folks who were unjustly detained under the ISA and the rest of the Papan residents who were put at risk?
BN leaders with short memories are now talking about going into nuclear energy.
Wikipedia explains the risk posed by radioactive waste:
According to a 2007 story broadcast on 60 Minutes, nuclear power gives France the cleanest air of any industrialized country, and the cheapest electricity in all of Europe. France reprocesses its nuclear waste to reduce its mass and make more energy. However, the article continues, “Today we stock containers of waste because currently scientists don’t know how to reduce or eliminate the toxicity, but maybe in 100 years perhaps scientists will… Nuclear waste is an enormously difficult political problem which to date no country has solved. It is, in a sense, the Achilles heel of the nuclear industry… If France is unable to solve this issue, says Mandil, then ‘I do not see how we can continue our nuclear program.'” Further, reprocessing itself has its critics, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists.