ASEAN’s Nuclear Power Race: Winding Down for Renewable Energy?
ON 22 NOVEMBER 2016, the National Assembly of Vietnam ratified their government’s decision to hold off the building of its nuclear reactor. Cost was cited as the main reason. Another possible factor could be the unfolding lessons from the event of Fukushima, and the safety and security of nuclear reactors in cases of intentional attacks such as cyberattacks or terrorism still need to be assessed.
This is good news for the region. A possible regional nuclear energy race would now be avoided, and Vietnam’s neighbours would not have to brace themselves for a potential nuclear fallout. The region should now focus on developing renewable energy to meet its energy demand.
To increase the penetration level of renewable energy resources, ASEAN has launched many initiatives to promote solar and biomass, and to facilitate trade and cooperation in the region. Renewable energy has been considered not only to reduce the dependency on oil but also to minimise the environmental impact with regard to climate change. ASEAN targets to increase the level of renewable energy to 23% by 2025 in the ASEAN Energy Mix.