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Singapore explores nuclear energy capabilities amidst push for low-carbon alternatives

Minister Gan Kim Yong highlighted Singapore is exploring low-carbon energy, including nuclear options, emphasizing a flexible, cautious approach without a fixed commitment.

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SINGAPORE: In the recent Singapore International Energy Week, Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong articulated the country’s exploratory stance on low-carbon energy sources, including nuclear energy, clarifying that the nation has not yet committed to any specific path.

On Monday (23 Oct), Mr Gan conveyed the idea of maintaining flexibility in Singapore’s energy plans, referencing the Energy 2050 Committee Report.

He shared that this document, released last year, suggests nuclear energy as a possible means to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, potentially fulfilling about 10% of the nation’s energy demands.

Currently, around 95 percent of Singapore’s electricity is generated through piped or liquefied natural gas (LNG). Other energy sources, including solar, biomass, and municipal waste, contribute 2.9 percent, while coal accounts for 1.2 percent, and petroleum products such as diesel and fuel oil make up 1 percent.

However, Mr Gan pointed out that the Singaporean government, despite bolstering its expertise in nuclear safety and emergency protocols, has not settled on a definitive approach regarding nuclear energy.

This position resonates with a pre-feasibility study conducted over a decade ago, which, according to Mr Gan, concluded that then-available nuclear technologies weren’t appropriate for Singapore.

Yet, Mr Gan highlighted the evolving nature of nuclear technology, mentioning that newer developments seem to promise safer and more economical solutions.

“Understanding these advanced nuclear energy technologies is crucial, allowing us to seriously consider these options when they become viable,” he explained, indicating a proactive, yet cautious, approach in the country’s energy strategy.

In the spirit of this strategy, Mr Gan noted that Singapore has been collaborating with entities like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and regional partners.

This cooperation aims to enhance collective understanding, particularly of small modular reactors, which Mr Gan believes are reputed to be safer than their traditional counterparts.

Alongside its nuclear investigations, Singapore is also advancing in alternative low-carbon energy sectors, especially hydrogen.

Mr Gan announced progress in selecting developers for an innovative low or zero-carbon ammonia power generation and bunkering project on Jurong Island.

Echoing the government’s dedication, Energy Market Authority (EMA) chief executive Ngiam Shih Chun remarked on the financial aspects of adopting new technologies.

He suggested that while initial costs are typically steep, history, as seen in the solar energy sector, shows that prices tend to decrease as technology matures.

However, Mr Ngiam hinted at a potential increase in consumer costs associated with adopting cleaner energy forms. He discussed the prospect of integrating externalities like carbon taxes, emphasizing their role in reflecting the true cost of carbon-based fuels.

In a recent parliamentary session, when queried about the timeline for integrating small modular reactors into Singapore’s energy infrastructure, Mr Gan responded with caution.

He reiterated that the EMA is keeping an eye on various emerging energy alternatives, including nuclear power. Still, he emphasized that any decisions would only follow meticulous studies assessing the safety, reliability, affordability, and environmental impact of these resources in Singapore’s specific context.

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Please work to improve on the SMART NATION Technology. The Digital system is also not efficient. If you don’t grow the foreign population, there may not be a need for increase in energy and costs need not go up for the resident population. Lesser is much better than more.

A little too late to start now. Developing a civilian nuclear industry is not easy. Ten years at minimum if authorities know what to do. Singapore could have become like South Korea, building nuclear power plants for countries in Asia. But the ship has sailed.

A populist party like the PAP is still too scared to rock the boat despite having an overwhelming grip on the country. Nuclear power still remains a distant dream for Singapore.

Susah. Sudah la. Go fly kite.

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