Sustainable Energy Network Thailand (SENT), Nuclear Monitor, MeeNET, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Thailand and Heinrich Boll Stiftung, Southeast Asia Regional office (hbs) organized a forum together on March 15, 2011, Bangkok, to exchange knowledge and update each other on the nuclear situation in Japan which would bring about the lessons and precautions that Thailand should take in its decision to go nuclear.
Communities from the six potential nuclear sites, including provinces of Nakhon Sawan (Central Thailand), Chumporn, Nakhon Sir Thammarat, Prachuap Khiri Khan (South of Thailand), Ubon Ratchathani (Northeast) and Trad (East of Thailand), all expressed their sympathies and conveyed their condolence to all people in Japan during this tragic moment. At the same time, they perceived nuclear technology contains high risks, which could occur without any warnings, threatening lives of local residents. Experiences and incidents in Japan have provided significant grounds to question the Thai’s decision to go for nuclear. Communities have been actively attempting and challenging the government’s nuclear plans since the last five years. Under the current Power Development Plan 2010, five nuclear power plants, of 1,000 MW each, are proposed, despite a large potential for other alternative energy sources.
Representatives from communities made their statements, calling for the following:
1. Nuclear is not the option for energy supply of the country and nuclear power plants must be removed from the Power Development Plans. This is basically due to its high risks to society and environment, particularly when radioactive substances contaminate food chains, as well as high investment costs. Additionally, lessons learnt from Japan clearly indicated that even a country with high and advanced technology as well as effective management systems like Japan failed to efficiently handle the situation to ensure optimal safety of their citizen. This therefore raised the question if Thailand, where information on nuclear remained limited, would be able to cope with such a risky incident.
2. The government should review the demand forecasts and stop arguing that Thailand needs more power plants in order to respond to increasing demands and to ensure energy security. Currently the country has power reserves of more than 15%; investing more on new large power plants would double the reserves and hence become the burden of consumers at large. The government should put more focus on decentralized energy system for energy security.
3. The government should provide significant support to alternative and renewable sources of energy, including solar, wind, biomass, energy efficiency and energy conservation, etc, as they offer a large potential for Thailand.
4. The government must stop all public relations activities to promote nuclear where only one-sided information has been communicated, especially from the largest power utility –Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).
Furthermore, communities made it clear, should nuclear remain in the Power Development Plan, they would continue to challenge and fight against it. Lastly, they urged all the Thais to open up these nuclear debates and step out to join communities and call for no nuclear in Thailand. This would certainly ensure our livable society for the next generations.
Prachatai (Thai version only)