Many experts have been rushing to contain the level of radiation emanating from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan which was damaged during the devastating 9 Richter scale earthquake. However, their attempts have so far been futile as the situation seems to be deteriorating. The incident has struck fear into many countries with nuclear power plants including Thailand, which is planning to construct a nuclear plant to meet domestic consumption for electricity.
Judging from the Japan’s handling of the crisis, it is apparent that the Japanese government and the private operator of the plant have underestimated the devastating power of earthquakes; perhaps from having too much confidence in their technology. The incident has also refueled the global anti-nuclear energy sentiment around the globe mainly in Europe and Thailand.
Certainly, nuclear energy has both support and opposition. Most of the proponents are those who would benefit from the construction of nuclear power plants such as government energy officials and businesses who seek cheap energy. While the opponents have been pointing to the high environmental cost associated with atomic energy and radioactive materials from past incidents.
Despite strong opposition against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Thailand from many, including Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, related agencies are still pushing forward with the development of the nuclear project, citing the country’s growing demand for energy. However, the final decision has yet to be made. Meanwhile, the debate on the issue has continued to be overlooked by every government.
At the moment, many European countries have announced clear time frames in which the nuclear power plants will be phased out. Instead, they will focus on the development of the alternative energy sources. This seems like the direction in which every country is headed. Thailand must announce its stance on the energy issue. We must decide if we want nuclear power plants or not. If we denounce atomic energy, which alternative energy source do we need to develop order to meet the country’s growing demand for energy? Certainly, once the line is drawn and supported by the people, everyone will work together towards the solution for the current energy crisis.
Taken from Editorial Section, Krungthep Turakij Newspaper, Page 2, March 16, 2011Translated and Rewritten by Kongkrai Maksrivorawan
Sixteen civil society groups are campaigning against the planned construction of Thailand’s first full-sized nuclear power plant in the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani due to fears regarding the safety of such a facility, and demand that the government call its whole plan to build five nuclear power plants in the country.
The protest against the nuclear power plant was staged in the wake of a series of explosions at the earthquake-hit Fukushima power complex in Japan.
Sodsai Sangsok, coordinator of the Thai Network Against Nuclear Power Plants, and about 200 others from 16 civil society organisations gathered at the city pillar shrine in Ubon Ratchathani to demonstrate their opposition to the Energy Ministry’s policy to build a nuclear power plant in Sirindhorn district in the coming 4 to 5 years.
The government endorsed the Ministry’s Power Development Plan (PDP) 2010 to study and construct five nuclear power plants with the first to be located in Ubon Ratchathani and to supply electricity into the system in 2020 while the construction of the rest four planned nuclear power plants are scheduled to finish in 2030.
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