Nuclear power in Thailand
Thailand has no nuclear power stations, but the Thai Energy Ministry periodically considers plans for the nuclear power option.
Pricha Karasuddhi, technical adviser for the Nuclear Power Programme Development Office stated that power demand will double in the next 12 years. According to him, if the government goes for nuclear power, it must make a decision to do so now to pave the way for preparation. It is crucial to put this on the national agenda, again, according to him, to draw participation from all parties involved and debate the merits of Thai nuclear energy. According to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, daily demand for electricity hit 10 new peaks last year. The latest was registered on May 10, 2010 at 24,009MW, higher than the record of 22,044MW on April 24, 2009 - due to higher temperatures and economic recovery. EGAT is worried about power blackouts or brownouts in the next 10 years when demand rises against a limited increase in new supply.
Nuclear power is expected to reduce Thailand's natural gas consumption in power generation from 70 per cent to 40 per cent. Figures from 2007 reveal that Thailand used natural gas to generate electricity more than any energy source at 66.2%, followed by lignite at 12.6%. Hydro power accounted for 5.5%, bunker oil 2.7%, diesel 0.03% and renewable energy 1.6%. Imported coal accounted for 8.4%, while purchased electricity from Laos and Malaysia was at 3%.
Others suggest that power demand can adequately be supplied by cheaper and safer eco-energies.
Fukushima 1 response
Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, on March 14, 2011, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva ordered the Energy Ministry to review its plan to establish five nuclear power plants. The ministry has been instructed to study two issues in detail:
- Emergency measures and nuclear plants
- Potential as terrorist targets
As of 2012, the Thai Energy Ministry is drafting a plan that could see a nuclear facility go into operation in 2026.
On November 3, 2009 anti-nuclear plant protesters in the Tha Chana District of Surat Thani province have dispersed but demanded the electricity authority carry out a public hearing before proceeding with the construction plan. More than 500 protesters trespassed into a meeting room of the Tha Chana district office in Surat Thani province while representatives from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand or EGAT were giving a presentation about a site survey for a nuclear power plant in the area.
On March 15, 2011 about 2,000 people from 18 districts of Kalasin Province rallied outside the city hall to protest against the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand's (EGAT) plan to build a nuclear plant in their province. Banners were raised to denounce some MPs in the province for having asked EGAT to build a nuclear plant in the province and claiming that it was the wish of the people. Well MPs claimed the people agreed to having the nuclear plant at public hearings which in fact had never been held, they said. The protesters said groundwork for the construction of a nuclear plant had been underway near Non Somboon village in tambon Hua Hin of Kalasin's Huay Mek district. The construction site is less than 10km from the Lam Pao river, the lifeline of Kalasin.
On March 26, 2011 Abac poll at the Assumption University reported that more than 80% of the respondents (83.4%) disagreed with the plan to construct nuclear power plants in Thailand. The poll involved 3,807 peopled aged 18 up in 17 provinces, was conducted from March 1 to 25, 2011. Bangkok residents had the largest percentage of the objection of 95.2 per cent followed by those in southern region (91.5%), the central (91.1%), the North (90.0%) and the Northeast (85.8%). It should be marked that this poll was conducted during the Fukushima I nuclear accidents in Japan.
- John Ruwitch (Feb 2, 2012). "Analysis: Southeast Asia goes slow on nuclear". Reuters.
- http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2011/03/21/business/Decision-needed-soon-on-nuclear-power-30151383.html Decision needed soon on nuclear power
- http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/228677/thailand-power-choices-get-harder Thailand's power choices get harder
- http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2011/03/15/national/Thailand-reviews-N-power-30150908.html PM wants rethink of plan to build 5 nuclear plants as global doubts soar
- http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/226826/kalasin-people-against-nuke-plant Kalasin people rally against nuke plant
- http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/228728/poll-people-against-nuclear-plant Poll: People against nuclear plant