Burma May Build Nuclear Reactors for ‘Research’: Minister

By The Irrawaddy 22 July 2014

RANGOON — Burma is preparing to build nuclear reactors for “research purposes” at some point in the future, according to the country’s minister for science and technology.

The state-run New Light of Myanmar reported Tuesday that Minister Ko Ko Oo was asked about Burmese government plans for nuclear research during a session of the Upper House in Naypyidaw n Monday. He responded that the country “might build nuclear reactors for research purposes at an appropriate time,” according to the report.

“Myanmar is carrying out tasks for human resources development in nuclear technology and will build nuclear reactors when the required infrastructure has been built,” the newspaper paraphrased the minister as saying.

Ko Ko Oo, while admitting that nuclear energy can be dangerous, reportedly claimed that “correct application of it can be beneficial as the technology can be applied in various fields including health, agriculture, livestock breeding etc.”

“The union minister added that it is necessary to build a nuclear reactor in order to conduct nuclear researches more effectively but the government at present is still trying to implement measures for protection against nuclear radiation, drafting laws for nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, building infrastructure for nuclear technology and development of human resources in nuclear technology,” it said.

During the former military regime, Burma was suspected of developing nuclear technology with help from North Korea, raising fears the country’s military rulers could gain access to nuclear weapons. Concerns were also raised overseas when Russia announced in 2007 it would build a nuclear reactor in Burma.

The current quasi-civilian government signed a key nuclear nonproliferation agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency in September last year.