Asia needs nuclear energy to meet its economic, energy and environmental goals, according to Agneta Rising, director general of the World Nuclear Association (WNA), on Wednesday at the Sustainable Energy Technology Asia 2018 conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
Nuclear energy is growing rapidly in Asia and over the last five years, generation has increased by 35 percent, Rising said.
Asia is a focus for new nuclear builds, with 40 of the 56 reactors globally under construction concentrated in Asian countries. New countries are planning to start using nuclear generation, with the ongoing construction of Bangladesh's first reactor while preparations are underway in countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
'However, plans for nuclear energy are still in the development phase in Southeast Asia,' she said.
Southeast Asia has become reliant on fossil fuels for electricity supplies, with coal-fired generation increasing dramatically, quadrupling since 2000. Electricity demand has risen sharply in the region and is expected to double over the next 20 years.
'Countries in Southeast Asia can be part of a global clean energy future by committing to use nuclear energy. This will help reduce pollution, improve air quality and deliver better public health,' Rising said.
Rising told the conference that international vendors and supply chain companies are ready to work with businesses in the region to bring investment and help develop a highly skilled workforce. To enable this, governments need to establish clear energy policies and develop nuclear energy infrastructure, training and education.
'Nuclear energy will provide a clean and reliable 24/7 supply of electricity at a competitive price,' Rising asserted.
By Huseyin Erdogan