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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        17 January 2011

Nuclear energy for Malaysia

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The recent flooding catastrophe in Australia that pushed up the coal price makes the case for Malaysia to seriously consider nuclear power to generate electricity, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB)president and chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh said.

"Due to the shortage of gas in the country, we have diversified our electricity generation to include coal.

"Now that there is bad whether in Australia and Kalimantan, as well as severe cold in the Northern hemisphere, the demand for coal, has suddenly shot up but supply is limited.

"There is also a lot of expansion of coal plants elsewhere and all this has combined to spike the coal price by more than 50 percent over the last six months," he added.

Coal accounts for 40 percent of Tenaga's power generation.

AmResearch in its recent report said, based on the current price that is hovering above US$100 per tonne and the US/RM exchange rate, Tenaga's net profit for financial years 2011 to 2013, could drop by between 28-29 per cent.

Tenaga purchased 17 percent of its annual coal requirement of 18 million tonnes in financial year 2010 from Australia, 71 per cent from Indonesia and 11 per cent from South Africa, said the research house.

Coal accounted for 48 per cent of Tenaga's 2010 financial year fuel cost.

"We estimate that a US$10 increase per tonne in coal costs above our average coal cost projection, could shave Tenaga's 2011 financial net profit by 18 percent," it explained.

Hence, Che Khalib said, it is timely for the government to seriously look into generating electricity from nuclear power.

"The safety measures, record and technology for nuclear power plants today is far better than that 30 years ago," he added.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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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