Costly nuclear plan far too risky

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The Nation 7 February 2008

Environmental group Greenpeace yesterday urged the new government to use the money on an energy-efficiency programme that promotes renewable power instead of employing a risky Bt1.38-billion plan to build a nuclear plant.

Greenpeace campaigner Tara Buakamsri criticised the fast-tracked decision by the Surayud Chulanont government to approve a study by the newly formed Nuclear Power Development Office (NPDO) to use nuclear power, saying it "inadequately addresses the real issue of energy security".

"Much of the optimism displayed by the nuclear lobby is rhetorical rather than realistic, as nuclear power has proven to be an economic and environmental hazard worldwide," he said.

"The new government should not waste money to find out what is already known. It should instead invest money in more promising and safe ways that protect the environment from climate change and promote security," said Tara.

Greenpeace asked the government to disband the NPDO.

Thailand is one of the countries being courted by powerful nuclear firms.

However, opponents of the move say the safety of populations cannot be compromised.

Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation, Nahdhatul Ulama, has forbidden its government to build nuclear plants in Jepara in Central Java, citing stiff opposition by the inhabitants. The Indonesian archipelago lies in the centre of the Pacific Ring of Fire, where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are frequent.