Watershed Vol. 2 No. 2 November 1996 - February 1997
Internationally, the construction and operation of nuclear power plants have been characterised by long delays, cost-overruns, and widespread public opposition. Contrary to claims by pro-nuclear advocates, there is still no safe way to store nuclear waste which can remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. Yet, nuclear power has resurfaced in the Mekong Region, with Thailand, Burma, and Vietnam announcing plans to build various types of nuclear reactors.
In Thailand, the Ministry of Energy has pushed forward plans for nuclear power plants which, according to the Power Development Plan (PDP) approved in 2007, would generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity by 2021. To convince the Thai public that nuclear power is the best alternative to secure Thailand's energy future, the Ministry of Energy has launched a multi-million baht public relations campaign.
However, Thailand does not need nuclear power. The purported "need" is based on an unrealistically high power demand projection and an unjustifiably small amount of alternatives allowed in the 2007 PDP. The combined 3600 MW of clean energy bids from 2007 alone can almost displace the planned 4000 MW of nuclear energy "required" by 2021. (Please also see Public Forum Facts about Nuclear: What the Thai public should know)
Furthermore, research and experience around the world has shown that nuclear presents an obstacle, not a solution, to energy security; diverting resources away from numerous proven safe and economically competitive alternative sources of electricity generation.
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