The nuclear emergency in Japan has renewed debate about the safety of nuclear power in the Asia Pacific, possibly the world’s most natural-disaster prone region. Southeast Asia has no working nuclear power plants, but most countries there plan to develop nuclear power despite the emergency.
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam plan to build nuclear power plants in the next decade and others in Southeast Asia hope to follow them.
Following the emergency in Japan, the Thai government said it would also take into account concerns about nuclear safety as it became more of a public focus.
But Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn says it would not delay their nuclear power development.
“Until we know for sure what happened in Japan, I think several governments may require more information on this issue,”
“So, I think ‘yes’, certainly it raises some concerns, but these concerns are not new. Hopefully, our committee who are working on this issue will come up with a comprehensive picture of this.”
But the nuclear emergency caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan has raised concerns about the safety of developing nuclear power, especially in countries vulnerable to natural disasters. The Asia Pacific region is every year struck by earthquakes, tropical storms, monsoon floods and landslides.
Following the disaster in Japan, some officials and activists in the region are urging a re-thinking of pursuing nuclear energy.
Today, it is generally accepted that electricity is a major factor in driving a nation’s economy and improving people’s living. Given the continuous economic growth of Thailand in the past 30 years, the country’s annual electricity demand has greatly increased from 14,000 million units or gigawatt-hour (GWh) to 150,000 GWh at present, or at an average annual growth rate of 8.2 per cent.
Electricity demand has increased sharply in the industrial sector as a result of the policy of successive governments trying to scale up investment in the industrial sector. In addition, Thailand’s economic development has resulted in growing electricity consumption by the commercial and residential sectors driven by higher income levels of consumers whose consumption characteristics have shifted towards greater convenience and modernization.
Consequently, the government has to work out the power development plan of the country to increase the generating capacity of the system so as to adequately meet the rising demand. In 1979, the peak demand of power was 2,964 megawatts (MW) while that in 2009 amounted to 22,596 MW. Meanwhile, power transmission and distribution systems have been so much expanded, particularly in the service areas of the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), that they can presently cover almost all areas nationwide.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has been a perfect storm, destroying jobs, worsening poverty and inequality, and creating a public and private debt problem—especially for countries and firms already in fragile financial health beforehand
50:50 campaign may not get immediate extension
BANGKOK (NNT) – The government’s 50:50 co-pay campaign expiring on 31st March may not be getting an immediate campaign extension. The Minister of Finance says campaign evaluation is needed to improve future campaigns.
The Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith today announced the government may not be able to reach a conclusion on the extension of the 50:50 co-pay campaign in time for the current 31st March campaign end date, as evaluations are needed to better improve the campaign.
Originally introduced last year, the 50:50 campaign is a financial aid campaign for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the government subsidizes up to half the price of purchases at participating stores, with a daily cap on the subsidy amount of 150 baht, and a 3,500 baht per person subsidy limit over the entire campaign.
The campaign has already been extended once, with the current end date set for 31st March.
The Finance Minister said that payout campaigns for the general public are still valid in this period, allowing time for the 50:50 campaign to be assessed, and to address reports of fraud at some participating stores.
The Fiscal Police Office Director General and the Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Kulaya Tantitemit, said today that a bigger quota could be offered in Phase 3 of the 50:50 campaign beyond the 15 million people enrolled in the first two phases, while existing participants will need to confirm their identity if they want to participate in Phase 3, without the need to fill out the registration form.
Mrs Kulaya said the campaign will still be funded by emergency loan credit allocated for pandemic compensation, which still has about 200 billion baht available as of today.
Customs Department Considers Measures to Help SMEs
BANGKOK (NNT) – The Customs Department is seeking ways to reduce the impact of the exemption on import tax and value-added tax (VAT) for imported goods worth up to 1,500 baht, as such measures are hurting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
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