ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Nuclear fears stall Thai nuclear development
By David Swartzemtruber
The first indication of this comes from Thailand where a decision to implement nuclear power in the country by 2020 has been put off for three years. Thailand’s National Energy Policy Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, made the decision on Wednesday.
Following the decision, Energy Minister Wannarat Channukul said the project could not proceed unless public opinion backed the effort.
The Thai nuclear effort also faced criticism when the International Atomic Energy Agency said the country was lacking in two areas needed to start any serious effort to build nuclear reactors for electricity generation. Thai governments have done a poor job in informing the country about the issue, and have done little to set up transparent laws and regulatory bodies, it said.
Developing nuclear power in Asia remains a controversial and volatile issue, as the recent 4th Save Our Planet Conference, presented by Asean Affairs in Bangkok, revealed.
For many Asian countries, nuclear power is seen as the next logical step as the decline in hydrocarbon resources continues. In most cases, alternative energy (solar, wind and hydro) are also in the mix but nuclear is seen as a primary source.
Japan has urged Asian countries not to use its recent disaster as a reason for not advancing their nuclear power plans. If these plans proceed expect, however, expect more delays and increasing public outcry spurred by the memory of the news videos of the recent Fukushima disaster.
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