ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai panel delays nuclear plans
"The most important thing in considering [whether to build a nuclear power plant] is to hold discussions with all sides," said Tatsuo Sato, vice-president of the JNES.
"Mankind should use the best option while also coming up with a framework for safety. However, Thailand should not base its decision on the incident in Japan. Other factors such as the environment are also critical."
Nuclear power comprises 30 percent of the total power production in Japan, but severe plant failures following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami have resulted in power shortages and necessitated occasional rolling blackouts.
Mr. Sato said that cost, ease of use and efficiency also need to be taken into account in power planning.
While Germany and Denmark are undergoing high-profile searches for alternative energy sources, Mr. Sato said it would be difficult for all countries to rely on solar cells and wind power as their main energy source.
"Although Japan is currently discussing other sources of energy, due to the costs and dependence on the weather, I think it will be difficult to make alternatives the main energy source of any country," he said.
Mr Sato said Japan was willing to share its experience and lessons to provide information to Thailand about the plant failures there in order to prevent future occurrences.
The National Energy Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday agreed on the proposal by the Energy Ministry to delay Thailand's power development plan. It had called for as many as five nuclear plants with total capacity of 5,000 megawatts to be built, with the first two plants to start producing electricity in 2020 and 2021.
Earlier, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Thailand was not ready for nuclear projects. At yesterday's meeting, the committee also agreed to extend the current capped prices of liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas for vehicles until September. They were due to expire in June, but LPG will be capped at 18.13 baht per kilogramme, with the NGV retail price will remain at 8.50 baht/kg.
However, the price of LPG used by industries will be increased gradually starting in July by 3 baht per kilogramme every quarter.
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