Nuclear power: More bad than good

Safety is just one of the reasons why it is not feasible for Singapore to opt for nuclear power (Nuclear power merits consideration as one of multiple energy sources; last Monday).

First, there is the cost. It costs billions in initial capital to build a nuclear plant, excluding operating and decommissioning costs. The back-up and safety precautions would also add to the price tag.

Given our small and dense population, the risk is higher than for other countries, and if anything happens - even a small accident - the impact on our population would be disastrous.

Singapore does not have the infrastructure for such projects. And how do we manage the waste? It will become a generational question that will affect our future generations.

Terrorism is another concern. If terrorists get hold of the facility, either physically or via a cyber attack, they could blow up other countries next to Singapore.

Singapore already struggles with a limited amount of space to build flats, hospitals, military camps, police stations, fire departments, schools, infrastructure and facilities for the elderly.

The land for building a nuclear power plant can be put to better use.

Finally, the massive amounts of radioactive waste from any accident can cause cancer, and other serious health issues, as seen from the effects on the people of Ukraine after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2017, with the headline 'Nuclear power: More bad than good'. Print Edition | Subscribe