“Americans join Japanese in figuring how to scrap reactors safely” (Crucial Next Steps In Nuclear Crisis, Mr. Ken Belson).
The news report “Crucial Next Steps In Nuclear Crisis” (April 9, 2011) by Mr. Ken Belson: prior to the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan, member nations of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) were enthusiastically pushing for a nuclear energy option in their administration’s energy portfolio. The current Japanese predicament has greatly rattled public confidence, with justified fears overshadowing pragmatic justifications – of nuclear being greener, cleaner and cheaper et cetera – and correspondingly allowing ASEAN leaders to rethink their country’s positions.
However, it seems that the ongoing crisis would be a mere setback in ASEAN’s long-term nuclear aspirations for the Southeast Asian region. A few years down the road, the ramifications of Japan’s disastrous catastrophe would be conveniently forgotten, and corporate interests would take precedence over the desires of the ASEAN populations.
The fact is that ASEAN is not – and may never be – completely ready and prepared for the development of nuclear power plants. Geographically, the Southeast Asian region is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters; and past instances have shown that collective regional disaster managements have been slow, bureaucratic and simply ineffective. A nuclear disaster might spell unprecedented annihilation and destruction. Politically, ASEAN governments are riddled with corruption and red tape; which might potentially compromise construction standards and safety criterions. Furthermore, without an official regional consensus on nuclear power policies for involved stakeholders, how would the peoples be convinced of nuclear power’s feasibility and overall effectiveness?