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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           20   July  2011

Nuclear power remains Thai energy option

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The new Pheu Thai-led government should not rule out developing nuclear power, as Thailand needs to diversify its energy sources at a competitive cost, say business leaders. The Thai Chamber of Commerce would like to see the new government put building nuclear power plants on the national agenda, said Sanan Angubolkul, head of the energy committee of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

"We believe this is a way to generate energy cheaply," said Mr Sanan, also president of the melamine and plastic tableware manufacturer Srithai Superware.

He added that advanced technology could help minimise the potential risks of repeating Japan's nuclear crisis.

A panel in charge of Thailand's 20-year power development plan (PDP) for 2010-30 agreed in April to the Energy Ministry's proposal to delay by three years of the kingdom's first two nuclear power plants, initially scheduled to start operating in 2020.

The PDP calls for nuclear energy to account for 11 percent of power generation by 2030, with lignite and imported coal making up 24 percent, natural gas 39 percent, purchases from neighbouring countries 20 percent and renewable energy 6 percent.

Natural gas accounts for 72 percent of all fuel used in power generation in Thailand, followed by coal at 20 pwercent, domestic hydropower at 5 percent and imported power from Laos at 2 percent.

Pairat Tangkaseranee, the deputy secretary-general at the Federation of Thai Industries, said it also supported nuclear energy, which is clean and cost competitive. "Despite a high investment at the beginning, nuclear power plants are cheap in terms of operation and maintenance cost. And they generate much less carbon emissions than coal."

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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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