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Green group urges Thailand to shelve nuclear plans

by Staff Writers
Bangkok (AFP) June 30, 2010
Environmental campaigners on Wednesday urged Thailand to shelve its nuclear power proposals, warning that the cost of the project could be much greater than expected.

Greenpeace said the government's provisional plans to build five nuclear plants could face "huge cost overruns" and pressed authorities to instead focus on renewable energy.

Campaign manager Tara Buakamsri said official estimates for the initial cost of the development was around 15.4 billion dollars, but cautioned that international spending levels for reactors suggested the outlay could be more like 20 billion dollars.

Thailand is exploring the feasibility of tapping atomic power to help meet its growing energy needs, but it has faced strong local opposition to the siting of reactors.

"The expected huge cost overruns for Thailand's planned nuclear power plants, as well as the serious public concern and strong opposition from local communities over a closed power development planning process should convince the government of Thailand and National Energy Policy Committee to cancel the proposed nuclear power plants," Buakamsri said.

He urged authorities to instead concentrate on the research and development of renewable energy, which he said could provide "cheaper, more quickly available and accessible" power as well as reducing emissions.

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