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Asia: An Overview of Nuclear Energy in the Southeast

Highlights – Interest in nuclear power growing significantly in Asia to offset increase electricity demand – Over 100 nuclear power reactors already in existence, with plans to build additional 150 – Rush to train nuclear scientists could pose problems for implementing safeguards in the long-term On November 10, 2008, the United Kingdom (UK) announced that it intended to lift the ban on exporting sensitive nuclear technology to India, just weeks after the United States convinced the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to agree to waive its rule proscribing the sale of nuclear material to the country. The UK’s announcement comes just days after Russia’s announcement that it intends to take part in Vietnam’s planned nuclear energy program. India and Vietnam are not the only countries taking a more active interest in pursuing nuclear power, however. Much of Southeast Asia is actively pursuing civilian nuclear energy programs to address growing energy needs. As fuel prices have steadily increased in recent years and the limited supplies of oil and natural gas throughout Southeast Asia have diminished, countries throughout the region are again taking an active interest in nuclear power. Despite the increased interest in nuclear energy programs throughout the region, we anticipate that the sizable costs, coupled with the accelerated time frame for the completion of many nuclear reactors, will prevent regional nuclear development from occurring according to the initial expectations of many Southeast Asian governments. Current and Future Reactors Throughout the Region In East and South Asia alone, there are over 111 nuclear power reactors in operation, 21 under construction and plans to build a further 150 in the mid to long-term. The greatest numbers of nuclear power generation facilities are located in Japan, with 55 current reactors, two that are under construction, and an additional 17 planned. In addition, the following countries currently have and are in the process of producing additional nuclear reactors: China, South Korea, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Philippines. Each country has shown varying degrees of interest and progress in their respective pursuit of nuclear energy. Japan • Japan already generates over 28 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy. While the country possesses some of the most stringent safeguards, a number of reactors were shut down over several months following inspection irregularities. Further, an earthquake on July 16, 2007 at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant resulted in leakage despite being designed to withstand a 6.5 earthquake on the Richter scale. China • With Chinese electricity demand growing at over eight percent per year, Beijing is moving rapidly to finish the seven plants it currently has underway. The country has a further 24 planned and 76 proposed, on top of 13 research reactors. Unlike many other countries in the region, China appears to be both on time and on budget in its developments. South Korea • With over 35 percent of its power generation already coming from nuclear plants, South Korea intends to meet 60 percent of its energy needs through nuclear power by 2035. North Korea • Currently, it appears North Korea has only two partially constructed nuclear power plants, in addition to one nuclear research reactor. Six party talks and nuclear negotiations with the United States have, for the time being, kept North Korea from pursuing a more robust nuclear program. India • Despite 17 reactors in operation, nuclear power currently supplies less than four percent of electricity in India. But with the waiver granted by the NSG, India’s nuclear energy program is poised to pursue a sizable increase in electricity generated from nuclear power in the near-term. Pakistan • With just

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OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.