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    Thai environment, energy, safety issues

    Nuclear Power for Thailand

    By Anonymous, Created on: 04/09/2007, Last updated on: 09/07/2014

    ยป The Prime Minister has explained the plan for a nuclear power plant to produce energy for Thailand and help Thailand move away from reliance on oil and gas. Thailand is a net importer of energy, getting much of its energy from the middle east at a huge cost to the country. Added to that the use of...

    • Anonymous commented : Nuclear countdown By Yuthana Praiwan On his very last day as energy minister, Piyasvasti Amranand officially inaugurated a three-year, 1.38- billion-baht study of nuclear power generation for Thailand. The study would be undertaken by the new Nuclear Power Development Office (NPDO). The working panel would be chaired by Norkhun Sitthiphong, the current deputy permanent secretary for the Energy Ministry.Dr Piyasvasti said the preparation procedure involved various elements including a feasibility study, site selection, public acceptance plan, and development of the required technical skills for local personnel. As well, he said, amendments to national laws were needed to expand the permitted usage of nuclear beyond food, medical and military research applications. Thailand has had a small research reactor for more than 40 years. The legislation would also cover safety standards to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The cost of the study would be borne by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) and the Energy Conservation Fund, with nuclear specialists from various public agencies involved. Dr Piyasvasti has been an outspoken supporter of building nuclear power plants, citing the country's high reliance on costly fossil fuels, limited availability of renewable energy, and global climate-change concerns. The government is now looking for a public-relations agency to carry out a public education plan to promote understanding of nuclear power. Most renewable energy has much higher production costs compared to nuclear power, which costs about two baht a kilowatt/hour (unit) to generate, compared with 5.5 baht a unit for wind power, 10.5 baht for solar, and 4.50 baht for biogas. Dr Piyasvasti said the study group was prepared to abandon its work if studies showed that other fuels would be cheaper than nuclear. One approach with high potential is believed to be integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), a new technology that turns coal into gas, but it could take two decades to develop on a commercial scale. Dr Piyasvasti's term as energy minister has also been marked by vigorous promotion of alternative fuels through a power demand-side management programme, providing soft loans and subsidies for energy-saving systems.

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