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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        9  May 2011

Southeast Asia still considering nuclear

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As Asean countries discussed alternative sources of energy to prepare for a departure from using fossil fuels, the possibility of turning to nuclear energy was not out of the question, despite the ongoing crisis in Japan.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told a news conference at the closing ceremony of the 18th Asean Summit that some Southeast Asian nations had expressed an interest in going nuclear.

“Looking at what happened in Fukushima not too long ago. All sides want to fully understand the pros and cons of using nuclear energy,” the president said. “It will become an option if a country is ready [to handle the risks] and it will not be an option for those that are unprepared.”

The Japanese government has been reviewing the safety of its 54 atomic reactors since a March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The disaster left more than 25,000 people dead or missing and triggered the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.

Yudhoyono said the positive aspects of nuclear energy were discussed at the summit as well — not just the risks associated with it.

“Every country has its own standpoint on the issue. Some consider nuclear energy a viable long-term option, while other countries said it is better to opt for other sources of energy.”

Asean countries did agree on the need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels by researching alternative sources of energy.

Asked about Indonesia’s stance on nuclear energy, the president said the country is still in the process of deciding on the alternatives, but he did not want to rule it out.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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