February 6, 2024
MANILA – Safety concerns and high development costs are stumping nuclear power development in Asia, with new facilities unlikely to come online in the next decade, according to an international think tank.
The Fitch Group, through its unit BMI, said in a report that nuclear power generation in the region would be limited to “a handful of markets,” particularly China, India, South Korea and Bangladesh.
While nuclear power capacity in Asia is expected to grow to 185.8 gigawatts by 2033, BMI said the growth would only be driven by developments in China, which will account for 78 percent of the total projection. India will contribute 11 percent, while South Korea and Bangladesh will account for the remaining 11 percent.
“The sentiment in Asia remains relatively against nuclear power reactors, reflected by the limited developments of new plants over the past 10 years, prominently in the subregion of Southeast Asia,” BMI said.
The government and private sector in the Philippines, for example, have long been reviving talks of nuclear power generation to lessen the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. This was further fueled by the signing of the landmark 123 Agreement between Manila and Washington in November last year.
However, even the Department of Energy and key industry players are uncertain when the technology could finally play a part in domestic power generation, citing safety and regulatory concerns.
According to BMI, the resources required to form a regulatory body and legislation for safety checks and licensing “could be challenging to justify,” especially since existing renewable energy technologies had “lower installation costs.” INQ