Nuclear power remains an option for the city-state of Singapore, despite a current focus on increasing security of gas imports and managing power demand. Minister for trade and industry S Iswaran said investment will continue "to learn and understand the technology".
Addressing students and young people at Singapore International Energy Week today, Iswaran was asked what became of a 2010 push for nuclear power. He said nuclear is part of Singapore's longer-term effort. "We never ruled out the option of using nuclear. The fact of the matter is that today's technology - in terms of footprint etc - the sheer size of it becomes difficult."
Instead of a nuclear program in the near term, Singapore has instead "embarked on making sure Singapore is well informed on trends", said Iswaran. He highlighted the future possibility of smaller reactors with potential benefits from modularisation and which "address issues of safety in a different way".
"The [nuclear] space will continue to evolve," said Iswaran. Singapore will "remain involved and engaged by investing to learn and understand the technology, to know the trends and learn from international organisations." The Singapore Nuclear Research and Safety Initiative at the National University of Singapore provides a focus for expertise.
Singapore's electricity system produces up to 13,400 MWe at peak, with 95% of electricity coming from imported gas in 2015. To mitigate this dependency, Iswaran is developing a domestic gas trading market and a second LNG terminal. He has just completed major deals that will secure supplies of from Australia, Brunei, Norway, Qatar, Russia and the USA.
A current priority for government is to empower and encourage consumers to make their own energy choices, for example switching suppliers and shifting some consumption to off-peak hours. This week a smart meter scheme was announced, while an app was promised that would give citizens updates on utility usage and cost every 30 minutes. Iswaran wants Singapore to become a test-bed for energy efficiency technologies in an urban setting.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News