Govt urged to detail link to Cambodia's nuclear plan

Anti-nuclear activists have called on the Thai government to clarify its involvement in Cambodia's controversial plan to construct a nuclear power plant in the border province of Koh Kong.

The activists doubted Phnom Penh's capacity to single-handedly build and manage such a vast and risky project.

Santi Choakchaichamnankij, a representative of Bangkok-based Energy Watch, said it would be difficult for Cambodia to construct the nuclear plant, as it would require enormous capital and human resource investments.

"Cambodia itself doesn't need such a large-scale power plant," Mr Santi said. "The project will likely supply electricity to neighbouring countries, including Thailand. The Thai government should make it clear whether it is involved."

The prospect of Cambodia building a nuclear power plant was first raised by Prime Minister Hun Sen at the 30th Asean Ministers Meeting on Energy in Phnom Penh last month.

Hun Sen told the meeting he was interested in building the plant in Koh Kong to pave the way for economic expansion in the country.

But environmental activist Witoon Permwongsacharoen of the Foundation for Ecological Recovery said Cambodia consumed only 1,000 megawatts of electricity per year, meaning there was no need for the country to invest in nuclear power.

Mr Witoon said if Cambodia insisted on going ahead with nuclear energy, Asean members should intervene as the project would impact neighbouring countries.

Wichan Khantuwarn, coordinator of the Network Against Nuclear Power Plant Construction in Trat province, said he did not believe Cambodia would invest in nuclear power, as it had already invested in a coal-fired plant in Koh Kong province.

The province is too small to accommodate both coal-fired and nuclear power plants, he said, warning that the project might face strong opposition from residents in border areas.

Thailand also has plans to develop nuclear energy infrastructure.

Under the Energy Ministry's 20-year power development plan, Thailand will have five nuclear plants with a combined generating capacity of 5,000 megawatts by 2025.

Trat, which borders Koh Kong, is one of the provinces shortlisted as a potential site for a nuclear plant.

If Cambodia goes ahead with the plant, it will be required to draft a regulation on nuclear safety practices in line with International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 15/10/2012 at 04:31 PM
This entire idea is mind-boggling when there are a great deal of infrastructure priorities. Donduck, there is considerable difference between what is "nuclear" in Bangkok and what may be a power plant in Cambodia.
Discussion 2 : 15/10/2012 at 07:17 AM
donduck Discussion 14 : If your statement is true then it's more than likely it is a research and medical nuclear reactor facility rather than a fully operational power plant.
Discussion 3 : 15/10/2012 at 02:59 AM
As usual in these discussions, no participant seems aware that Thailand runs a nuclear plant at Chatuchak, and has for decades. Of course no one remembers all the accidents and release of nuclear material because it hasn't happened in those 50 years. Not that there haven't been nuclear accidents in Bangkok, mind you - because there have, and people have died. But not from the nuclear plant right inside Bangkok.
Discussion 4 : 15/10/2012 at 02:57 AM
There are no members in the ASEAN Group with any experience of nuclear technology and without help from the International Community, no such project could go ahead. A likely partner, if any, might be Russia. The concept, however is very worrying in regard to Thailand which has an appalling safety record. Most of its Neighbours are little better. Fortunately talk is cheap, ASEAN has so far delivered little and not taken seriously.
Discussion 5 : 14/10/2012 at 09:36 PM
My mesaage to Khun Santi Choakchaichamnankij and other Thai group who have similar thoughts to his. You guys must stop underestimate Cambodia's capacity and ability. Cambodia today is different Cambodia in the past. Our leader is matured enough to judge what is good investment and where to get supports from for future of Cambodia. Big project could be supported by other countries not neccessarily Thailand. Thailand is not the nuclear expert nor the richest country in the world. You should ask Thailand to clean internal mess before helping or involving in such Cambodia project.
Discussion 6 : 14/10/2012 at 09:22 PM
ASEAN should not allow Thailand to have a nuclear power station. Just look at what happens when roads are built. With 35% commission being skimmed off, the buildings would fall apart after 6 months at best, like the roads. No doubt a relation will head the project.
Discussion 7 : 14/10/2012 at 07:51 PM
Thailand!? advising Cambodia on how to build a nuclear power plant !? That is up there with the most absurd thing I have ever heard. Guess what? I heard Thailand is teaching Israel how to deal effectively with militant insurgents ! Thailand will also be conducting seminars to enlighten the Myanmar government on the specifics and finer details of democracy! And Japan is queuing up to ask about helping in better quality control of their products! Holland is begging for help in dam and dike construction for better water management skills! Harvard, Yale, Oxford and MIT want suggestions on how to better open the minds of their students and encourage learning as a lifelong process! Scotland Yard is in need of better investigative policing methods! And . . .! And . . .! Maybe there was a misunderstanding and people were interested in how the Shinawatra clan keeps all power in the nuclear family?
Discussion 8 : 14/10/2012 at 06:32 PM
Says The Guardian: "We have identified 33 serious incidents and accidents at nuclear power stations since the first recorded one in 1952 at Chalk River in Ontario, Canada." But not to worry, Cambodia will be more careful than those foolish western nations and Japanese.
Discussion 9 : 14/10/2012 at 01:19 PM
Nuclear power is not a problem if it is controlled. The problem is with the waste. I, with my brother have been nuclear engineers for many years, yet have never encountered an incident. The only concern with Cambodia is that they can devise a way to create a bomb. I can assure you from the technology they have this is not possible.
Discussion 10 : 14/10/2012 at 12:24 PM
I would suggest to this so called Thai activist first to clean up the mess in their own country and after go elsewhere and do all kind of nonsense. This reminds me to the "activist" who block the road building to Umphang and with this to block local people there to get a better life. This egoistic and selfish people who try to squeeze their opinion on top of others should just be ignored.
Discussion 11 : 14/10/2012 at 11:23 AM
It would seem a leap of logic that because Cambodia is building a nuke plant Thailand is helping. The list of nuclear powers who sell their technology willingly is pretty short. Go back and do some more research until you get a more plausible theory. If you catch someone cheating in class you don't accuse the dumb blonde with an IQ of 5 of being the source of the right answers.
Discussion 12 : 14/10/2012 at 10:58 AM
D4: shopwow ... just how did you come to that conclusion reading this article ? Just curious
Discussion 13 : 14/10/2012 at 10:11 AM
The high priestess of the U.S.A Ms.Hillary Clinton might now re-think about her sudden love affair with the pretty Prime Minister of Thailand. The U.S.A will NEVER again trust Thailand after this news article. Thaksin's bait (his lovely sister) might seduce the world for a few months more, we should be seeing a total change in world attitude towards Thailand by mid-2013. Till then, let the reds and their political wing make merry.
Discussion 14 : 14/10/2012 at 08:21 AM
D1 : They would have the same knowledge as anywhere else I reckon, seem to go wrong everywhere....seriously ? Beside from that I would like to place a bet against EGAT/Thai Energy ministry's 20 year plan that envisions 5 nuclear plant with an output of 5000 MW by 2025, because that is not going to happen...hope to find a betting agency that takes it on..
Discussion 15 : 14/10/2012 at 06:14 AM
These kind of activists will put Thailand behind neighbouring countries in both 3G and power gen. Are they funded by neighbouring countries?
Discussion 16 : 14/10/2012 at 05:28 AM
And what would Thais know about building a nuclear plant?......seriously.

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