Friday, 27 April 2012

Online Survey Results

On April 2, we have started an online survey that aimed to gauge the level of public awareness regarding power generation in Malaysia. There were a total of 10 questions separated into two parts; 3 questions for Part I and the next 7 for Part II. 

We have received exactly 76 responses by the time we collected the results on April 27, 2012. The followings are the summary of responses for each question asked. 

Summary of responses for Part I - Question #1.
From 76 responses, only 3 of them were not aware of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emissions coming from the current Malaysian power generation industry. Here we can stipulate that maybe some of our respondents were from outside of Malaysia.

Summary of responses for Part I - Question #2.
Summary of responses for Part I - Question #3.
Based on Question #2 and #3, from 76 responses, only 5 of them were not aware of how today's electricity demand is highly determined by the fossil fuel supply, and 34 out of 76 responses believed that current methods of generating electricity wouldn't be able to meet the ever rising electricity demand in Malaysia. Noted here that most of them agreed that Malaysia has to come up with another way to generate electricity as we need to stop depending on fossil fuels.

In Part II, questions (from Question #4 to #8) were constructed in a way that would promote better understanding among Malaysians on why we should start considering nuclear power as one of the alternatives in power generation industry. 

Summary of responses for Part II - Question #4.
Summary of responses for Part II - Question #5.
Summary of responses for Part II - Question #6.
Summary of responses for Part II - Question #7.
Summary of responses for Part II - Question #8.
Question #9 was about getting to know how respondents viewed the idea of nuclear power generation in Malaysia. It appears that nuclear waste disposal was rated most as 'highly relevant' concern as compared to many others.

Summary of responses for Part II - Question #9.
Question #10 was the tiebreaker; now that respondents had seen the bright side of nuclear power and had understood why nuclear power is another alternative worth to be looked upon, respondents were asked on whether they would be supportive towards the development of nuclear power plant in Malaysia. 

Summary of responses for Part II - Question #10.
Clearly, 54 out of 76 responses agreed to support the efforts.

This online survey was powered by

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Nuclear Energy Future Trends

World builds new nuclear power plants

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 16

Ellada Khankishiyeva, Trend Analytical Centre Head

Despite the fact that relating to the accident at the Japanese Fukushima nuclear power plant seriously undermined people's confidence in nuclear power up to the point of abandoning functioning nuclear projects, some countries on the contrary, want to build their own nuclear power plants.
According to the World Nuclear Association, of those contemplating to begin construction in the next five years, 29 countries of the world plan to begin construction in the next five years of 154 nuclear power blocks, but in the long term (construction will begin in the next 15 years), 36 countries want to increase this number to 342.

Among these countries is Turkey which is resolved to building a number of nuclear power plants. Thus, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said Turkey is in talks to build nuclear power plants with the three countries on three different models. Turkey has already signed an agreement with China, South Korea and Russia on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The first Turkish nuclear power plant will be built on the Akkuyu site.

This means that Turkey will be the second country in the Middle East to have a nuclear power plant. Today, the Iranian Bushehr nuclear power plant is the one in Iran and throughout the Middle East. It will operate at full capacity (1,000 MW) in the early summer of this year and will produce from 720 to 730 megawatt hour which is 75 per cent of the final potential of the station.

Of the former Soviet Union countries, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Lithuania have plans to build nuclear power plants, while Ukraine and Russia, which already have 15 and 33 nuclear power plants, respectively, wish to increase their number.

The only justification that the number of nuclear power plants in the world is growing, even in view of their potential danger, is the ever growing demand for electricity, the demand for which is growing year by year. And nuclear power plants currently are among the main suppliers of cheap electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

The operational principle of nuclear power stations is very simple - this is a common conversion of thermal energy into electrical energy, but at the same time nuclear power is a global security threat to humans and the environment.

At present, many scholars hardly question the relevance of the use of atomic energy. Today the third generation of reactors is being built, even in earthquake zones and yet there is wariness about the nuances of the individual stations under specific conditions.
For example, Metsamor NPP in Armenia which does not meet modern standards in Armenia, built in 1976, is located in a seismically active zone. That's why it becomes a source of threat to the region. This was repeatedly stated by Azerbaijan and Turkey. Turkey is going to address the IAEA with the proposal to close the Armenian nuclear power plant motivating it by security reasons. The Turkish side is planning to initiate the closure of all stations with an expired use.

The international community led by the U.S. and the EU also exerts a significant pressure on the Armenian government to withdraw the existing nuclear power plant in Metsamor from operation. Mankind has survived major accidents after which some areas of the earth have become unfit to live. According to official data in Belarus, the most affected by the Chernobyl disaster was in neighbouring Ukraine, where more than 2.5 per cent of the population are registered for cancer, but Armenia is in no hurry to abandon its nuclear power plants.

Once again the excuse is that at this point in the world there is no alternative to nuclear power plants since nuclear energy is a highly efficient form of electricity generation and alternative schemes are too expensive and have very high overhead costs, including environmental ones. Early decline in demand for electricity is also not expected; hence the interest in nuclear power in the world is will not soon fade.

Source : Nuclear Energy Future Trends, from

International collaboration to improve safety

International collaboration to improve safety

There is a great deal of international cooperation on nuclear safety issues, in particular the exchange of operating experience under the auspices of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) which was set up in 1989.  In practical terms this is the most effective international means of achieving very high levels of safety through its four major programs: peer reviews; operating experience; technical support and exchange; and professional and technical development. WANO peer reviews are the main proactive way of sharing experience and expertise, and by the end of 2009 every one of the world's commercial nuclear power plants had been peer-reviewed at least once.  Following the Fukushima accident these have been stepped up to one every four years at each plant, with follow-up visits in between, and the scope extended from operational safety to include plant design upgrades. Pre-startup reviews of new plants are being increased.  See also: paper on Cooperation in Nuclear Power Industry.

The IAEA Convention on Nuclear Safety  (CNS) was drawn up during a series of expert level meetings from 1992 to 1994 and was the result of considerable work by Governments, national nuclear safety authorities and the IAEA Secretariat. Its aim is to legally commit participating States operating land-based nuclear power plants to maintain a high level of safety by setting international benchmarks to which States would subscribe.

The obligations of the Parties are based to a large extent on the principles contained in the IAEA Safety Fundamentals document The Safety of Nuclear Installations. These obligations cover for instance, siting, design, construction, operation, the availability of adequate financial and human resources, the assessment and verification of safety, quality assurance and emergency preparedness.
The Convention is an incentive instrument. It is not designed to ensure fulfillment of obligations by Parties through control and sanction, but is based on their common interest to achieve higher levels of safety. These levels are defined by international benchmarks developed and promoted through regular meetings of the Parties. The Convention obliges Parties to report on the implementation of their obligations for international peer review. This mechanism is the main innovative and dynamic element of the Convention.  Under the Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) program dating from 1982 international teams of experts conduct in-depth reviews of operational safety performance at a nuclear power plant. They review emergency planning, safety culture, radiation protection, and other areas. OSART missions are on request from the government, and involve staff from regulators, in these respects differing from WANO peer reviews.

The Convention entered into force in October 1996. As of September 2009, there were 79 signatories to the Convention, 66 of which are contracting parties, including all countries with operating nuclear power plants.

The IAEA General Conference unanimously endorsed the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety that Ministers requested in June. The plan arises from intensive consultations with Member States but not with industry, and is described as both a rallying point and a blueprint for strengthening nuclear safety worldwide. It contains suggestions to make nuclear safety more robust and effective than before, without removing the responsibility from national bodies and governments. It aims to ensure "adequate responses based on scientific knowledge and full transparency". Apart from strengthened and more frequent IAEA peer reviews (including those of regulatory systems), most of the 12 recommended actions are to be undertaken by individual countries and are likely to be well in hand already.
In relation to Eastern Europe particularly, since the late 1980s a major international program of assistance was carried out by the OECD, IAEA and Commission of the European Communities to bring early Soviet-designed reactors up to near western safety standards, or at least to effect significant improvements to the plants and their operation. The European Union also brought pressure to bear, particularly in countries which aspired to EU membership.

Modifications were made to overcome deficiencies in the 11 RBMK reactors still operating in Russia. Among other things, these removed the danger of a positive void coefficient response. Automated inspection equipment has also been installed in these reactors. 

The other class of reactors which has been the focus of international attention for safety upgrades is the first-generation of pressurised water VVER-440 reactors. The V-230 model was designed before formal safety standards were issued in the Soviet Union and they lack many basic safety features. Four are still operating in Russia and one in Armenia, under close inspection.
Later Soviet-designed reactors are very much safer and have Western control systems or the equivalent, along with containment structures.

Sources : Safety of Nuclear Power Reactors, from website

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Dr. Michihiro Furusaka

Dr. MICHIRO FURUSAKA, PhD, is a professor from the Graduate School of Engineering at Hokkaido University, Japan, working in the field of neutron instrumentation and optics. He is a word-renowned quantum Science and researcher and his research area includes condensed matter physics, biophysics, chemical physics and nuclear engineering. Currently, he is developing a new mini-focusing small angle neutron scattering instrument. Dr. Furusaka talks about the potential of the quantum beam physics and how it can be applied. 

  • Light (laser), X-ray, y-ray, electron beam, neutron beam - all quantum beams
  • Neutron scattering. Transmission electron magnifier, x-ray diffraction - all applications of quantum technology
  • X-ray, proton radiation therapy; medical application, all applications of quantum technology

Friday, 20 April 2012

Career as Nuclear Engineer

Nuclear Engineer

The first Nuclear Engineer is started 1957 when the first commercial nuclear power plant (NPP) began operating.  Nuclear engineer is a part of project team where combining technical and scientific skills.  Nuclear engineering projects consist of design and construction of nuclear reactors and power plants, development and production weapons, evaluation of environmental and ecological research, health physics, or industrial safety [1].   Most of nuclear engineers are been assigned to monitor the operation of nuclear power plants to ensure efficiency and conformity to safety standards.

Nuclear engineer should provide with sufficient knowledge likes mathematics, economics, and principles of engineering.  In term of practicality, the nuclear engineer use computer for simulation in problem analysis.
The nuclear engineer tasks as below:

  1. Administration
  2. Projects/Technical works
  3. Supervise other workers
  4. Preparation of budget
  5. Sales representatives
  6. Consultation 
  7. Advice the government 

Working hours for nuclear engineer is 40 hours a week.  However, the engineer must willing to work whatever days of shifts are necessary to meet production schedules [1].

The nuclear engineer salaries are depending to the location and employer.
Below are the salaries for nuclear engineer in federal civil service (California Occupational Guide) [1]:

  1. Nuclear Engineer with bachelor's degree, enter at the GS-5 level ($17,686 to $22,993 a year) or at the GS-7 level ($26,000 a year)
  2. Nuclear Engineer with master's degree, the beginning engineer enter at the GS-7 level ($21,900 to 28,500 yearly)
  3. If three or five years experience in private industry, an engineer might enter at the GS-12 ($38,900 to $50,000 a year) or GS-13 level ($46,200 to $60,100 a year)
TABLE 1 The Median Salary and Projected Job Growth [2]

There are also few benefits as a nuclear engineer likes paid vacations, holidays, and sick leave, medical, dental, and vision insurance, and retirement plans [1].  In some cases, the employer may pay the tuition for employees who take additional job related courses.


  1. Nuclear Engineer.  1995.  California Employment Development Department, from World Wide web:
  2. Science Careers: Nuclear Engineer.  2012.  Science Buddies, from World Wide web:

Security of Nuclear Power Plant

Building a Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is not an easy task.  The engineers need to concern on the security aspect of NPP.  Specifically physical security.  The incident of 9/11 gives warning to the operation of NPP that the structure must be strong enough to protect the nuclear reactor from been exploded.  In any situations, the NPP must be ready to facing with any threats.  Few factors are been highlighted for the security aspect of NPP, which are:

  1. Aircraft impact on fuel housing structures
  2. Effects of fire
  3. Land/water delivered explosions
  4. Assessment guidelines
  5. Standoff distances for structures, human injury
  6. Standoff distances for spent fuel casks
  7. Operational prevention measures.
Below are the comparison World Trade Center (WTC) and typical NPP structures:

FIGURE 1 Comparison of WTC and typical NPP structures [1]

In Aircraft Crash Analysis, there are three types which are penetration, scabbing, and perforation.  If there is penetration crash, means the integrity containment is maintained.  However, if there are scabbing and perforation occurred, the integrity of reactor containment cannot be maintained any more.

FIGURE 2 Aircraft Crash Analysis [1]

  1. Monograph by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nasri A. Hamid.  Reactor Safety. Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN).  Semester 3 2011/2012.

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