16 Jun 2010

Shock and surprise at Tonga's nuclear plans

9:59 am on 16 June 2010

Non-governmental organisations in the Pacific say they're shocked and surprised at news Tonga's exploring the idea of nuclear power.

Last week, Tonga's king 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.

Nuclear power is not included in Tonga's ten-year energy plan to be signed off this month.

Drew Havea of the Civil Society Forum of Tonga says the viability and long term effects of nuclear energy in a fragile environment like Tonga's need to be discussed.

"It sort of surprised all of us but sometimes I think in small islands some ideas never come to fruition. We hope that this could be the case. When we knew we were talking about renewable energy for Tonga as an answer I think most of us were thinking about solar and wind energy and potential wave energy but not nuclear."