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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     4 October  2011                       

Nuclear plant may go to coal

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The Philippines government is considering the conversion of the Bataan nuclear power plant into a coal-fired facility, according to the Department of Energy.

Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the Department of Science and Technology is conducting a study on the proposal.

The DOE is banking on coal plants-which are cheaper and faster to build and can run 24/7-to help secure the country's power supply amid a projected shortfall by 2014.

Should the DOST find the conversion feasible, government would bid out the construction, operation and management of the coal plant.

"The asset will be retained by the government," Almendras said.

The 630-megawatt BNPP was supposed to operate commercially more than two decades ago but then President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino mothballed the facility because of strong opposition from various environmental and cause-oriented groups.

State-owned National Power Corp. earlier considered the rehabilitation of the BNPP to help address the country's unstable power supply. Malaca?ang, however, thumbed down the proposal, citing socio-political considerations.

Almendras said the development of nuclear energy in the country would also be a "socio-political" decision. The government earlier announced plans to realign a P100-million budget intended for the study on nuclear power development to other projects.

"We want to use part of it for the fuel anti-smuggling, power rationalization, alternative fuels study and nuclear study," Almendras said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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