Thailand will conduct a study on the construction of a nuclear power plant, the energy minister said.
Speaking after a seminar on “No Shortage of Thai Energy: Thai Logistics in Progress”, Arak Chonlatanon said the ministry was preparing the country’s new power production capacity development plan (PDP 2012) to ensure energy sufficiency.
Thailand has utilised about 70 per cent of its natural gas and the resource is expected to be depleted within the next 10 years.
“Nuclear energy carries the lowest cost in generating electricity. But resistance to it among the public persists, as people are not confident about nuclear safety after the [emergency] at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant” in March 2011, Arak said.
In a meeting of Asean energy ministers in Cambodia, the Cambodian government indicated that it was going to conduct a study into the possibility of constructing a nuclear power plant on Kong Island as a way to stimulate the country’s economy.
Vietnam is constructing two 1,400-megawatt nuclear power plants.
Construction of a nuclear plant in Thailand has been postponed, and was not included in the current PDP 2010.
At present, the government still has no policy to build a nuclear plant, saying it needs to conduct a study.
Regarding the planned construction of coal-fired power plant on Kong Island, Arak said that might not take place any time soon because of a lack of a sea-transport system for coal imports. The planned 1,800MW coal-fired power plant is a joint investment between Ratchburi Holding and Kong Island Seaboard Co.
Deputy Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan said that as energy played a major role in transport, the ministry aimed to reduce energy usage by 13,400 kilotonnes by 2030.
Thailand’s transport efficiency is very low compared with its rivals. It was ranked 35th in the world in this respect, while Malaysia ranked 29th. Thailand’s logistics costs are as high as 12.5 per cent of gross domestic product.
The Transport Ministry plans to boost water and rail transport from 7 and 2 per cent, respectively, to a combined 50 per cent of the nation’s transportation. Road transport will cover the remaining 50 per cent. With these plans, Thailand’s logistics costs could be greatly lowered.
On the oil pipelines to the North and Northeast, an official at PTT said it was possible for Thai Petroleum Pipeline Co Ltd to invest in such projects.
The deals require approval from shareholders, which is expected to be obtained by the end of this year.
PTT has signed a contract to purchase 2 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year from Qatar, with imports to start in 2015. More long-term contracts are expected in the future.