14 Jun 2010

Tonga nuclear plan plan labelled work of fraudsters

7:37 pm on 14 June 2010

An independent energy analyst says the idea of nuclear energy for Tonga is so uneconomical, fraudsters must behind the proposal.

Tonga's King, George Tupou the 5th, last week said the government was following development work in the United States on 30 megawatt nuclear power plants which could help reduce the Kingdom's reliance on diesel.

New Zealand-based Molly Melhuish says the proposal is a dangerous example of international entrepreneurs taking advantage of vulnerable states.

"The only plants of that size are research reactors and it would probably be an old second hand one or alternatively, and even worse, an old ship reactor which are around that size. Both of those require very specialist fuel particularly ship reactors require highly enriched fuel, very expensive and very hard to handle."

Ms Melhuish says she hopes Tonga brings in independent experts to scrutinise any offer that might be made.