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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        17  March 2011

Activists call for end to Thailand's nuclear plans

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Thailand must cancel its plan to build nuclear power plants to avoid facing a radiation crisis similar to that in Japan, activists say.

Sodsai Srangsok, coordinator of Ubon Ratchathani Network Against Nuclear, said the government had recently told communities that nuclear technology posed no problem for them.

"Even Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has said it will now be difficult to pursue the plan to build nuclear power plants here. However, relevant ministries and authorities are still speaking differently on the issue," said Ms Sodsai.

Officials said explosions at a nuclear plant in Japan might cause the government to relocate planned sites from southern provinces such as Nakhon Si Thammarat to other sites in Ubon Ratchathani or Nakhon Sawan.

Yesterday, 200 people gathered in Ubon Ratchathani to mourn the loss of lives of Japanese people in the earthquake and tsunami tragedy while soliciting donations to help survivors. They also issued an open statement to reiterate their opposition against any state plan to build nuclear power plants in Ubon Ratchathani.

"Several other countries such as Germany have already cancelled their nuclear power plants. Thanks to the Japanese incidents, more Thai people are now more aware of the danger of such plants," Ms Sodsai said.

She said officials have only talked about the positive aspects of nuclear technology as a clean and cheap source of power generation but rarely mentioned its potential danger.

Thailand had a poor record in protecting people affected by mega projects such as Sirindhorn and Pak Moon dams but was eager to adopt more sophisticated technology to produce electricity, she said.

The government should review the PDP and look for alternative energy sources, she added. Tara Buakhamsri, Greenpeace coordinator, said the Japanese nuclear crisis was a wake-up call for Thailand, which plans to build five nuclear plants in the next 20 years. The people had no trust and confidence that the state authority had the capability of safely handling the technology.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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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