Environmental group urges Thailand to shift from nuclear to clean energy

19:19, June 30, 2010      

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An independent global group for environmental protection on Wednesday called upon Thailand's Energy Minister to divert all energy-related investments away from the nuclear energy option towards clean renewable energy.

The Greenpeace activists placed a huge barrel bearing the nuclear symbol in front of the Energy Ministry Wednesday morning to highlight the economic risks of Thailand building the five nuclear power plants proposed in the nation's Power Development Plan (PDP 2010-2030), calling on the Minister to bury his plans.

"Investing in nuclear energy at a time of such economic uncertainty is an enormous risk. We are calling on Mr. Wannarat Channukul to seal and bury Thailand's nuclear plans as the current trends in construction costs clearly indicate that the projected costs for nuclear power plants in Thailand are deceptively low and belie the reality," said Tara Buakamsri, Campaign Manager of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Experience from around the world shows that nuclear power plant construction costs are always exponentially higher than projections, especially those presented in the PDP 2010, said Buakamsri.

According to the PDP2010, the overnight cost -- the cost of construction if no interest was incurred during construction -- for the nuclear power plants is 3,087 U.S. dollars per kilowatt, which brings the total cost to around 15.4 billion dollars for the construction of five nuclear reactors.

In a letter to the energy minister, the group provided information to the Energy Minister on how cost estimates for nuclear power plant construction have risen steeply over the past few years.

The government should also set out the real sustainable "clean energy" vision to ensure that Thailand's future will be powered by clean, safe, quickly available and renewable energy.



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