Thais fight plans for nuclear power plants

Construction News

Horrified by news of radiation threats from quake-hit nuclear power plants in Japan, Thai residents of eight provinces that have been studied as possible sites for such plants have asked the prime minister to review the plans.

The coordinator of the Thai People Don’t Want Nuclear Power Plants Network, Sodsai Sangsok, told a news conference yesterday that the Japanese lesson indicated Thailand should not have nuclear plants.

She said studies had been made of possible sites for nuclear power stations in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Trat, Nakhon Sawan, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Kalasin and Khon Kaen provinces. The Energy Ministry initially eyed Ubon Ratchathani.

Sodsai said authorities had presented one-sided information, saying that nuclear power was cheap, clean energy, while the country was unprepared in terms of potential and social responsibility. Local people had not been consulted on the plants’ location.

The network plans to read an open letter to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva from Ubon Ratchathani City Hall today and to deliver it to him in person on Friday or Monday. The letter will ask the prime minister to review the plan to build nuclear power plants in Thailand.

Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University lecturer Chompunuch Morachat said he objected to nuclear plants because of threats of possible malfunctions and accidents that could destroy people and property. He criticised what he called “one-sided information” from government authorities that focused solely on the advantages of nuclear power. He also criticised the lack of community participation.

Meanwhile, the former chairman of the Nuclear Society of Thailand, Preecha Kansuthi, said the government had not yet established an official policy to build nuclear plants. It could therefore review its energy-development plans if asked to do so by protesters. However, the government had to be sure of power sources sufficient to meet the future needs of society.

In related news, about 30 protesters in Nakhon Si Thammarat asked provincial Governor Theera Min-trasak to have Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) coordination offices moved out of the province, bringing an immediate end to plans for construction of a coal-powered plant there. They said the plant was to be built in either Tha Sala or Hua Sai district.

The governor agreed to write an urgent letter to Egat asking it to act on the protesters’ wishes, but warned that it was up to the electricity authority whether it did so.

There were reports last week of rocks and bricks being thrown at an Egat office in Tha Sala by unknown attackers.


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