HomeWorld RegionsAsiaAsian nuclear forum not an overture to nuclear power projects

Asian nuclear forum not an overture to nuclear power projects

By Anchalee Kongrut

Nov. 2, 2000 (Bangkok Post)à‚–The First Forum for Nuclear Co-operation in Asia, to be held in Bangkok next week, will not be an overture to any nuclear power plant projects, atomic officials said.

The Nov 10-15 forum is aimed at improving safety standards, promoting the non-proliferation treaty and shaping technological co-operation networks among the nine member countries.

Of the member nations, only China, South Korea and Japan have nuclear power plants. Vietnam is in the process of starting a nuclear programme.

“We are not in a position to make decision or even think about nuclear energy now,” said Kriengkorn Bejraputra, secretary-general of the Office of Atomic Energy for Peace (OAEP).

The nuclear research reactor at Ongkharak, which is not yet finished, should not be seen as Thailand’s first foray into nuclear power, he said.

Public distrust of nuclear safety standards is widespread after a cobalt-60 cylinder accidentally leaked this year, killing three people and injuring several others.

Declining to elaborate on the future of nuclear energy here, Mr Kriengkorn said the lack of manpower would be a major stumbling block.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand conducted a feasibility study in 1968 on the possibility of building a nuclear power plant at Pha Daeng Beach in Pattaya, Chon Buri.

The study found at least 600 megawatts of electricity could be generated, said Itthi Bijayendrayodhin, deputy permanent secretary for science, technology and the environment.

Manoon Aramrattana, OAEP deputy secretary-general, said the forum’s key objective would be peaceful application and safety to ensure “no harmful incidents occur in the region.”

“This forum will take the form of small and humble co-operation. But we hope it will create pressure against nuclear proliferation.”Agenda items include nuclear reactor technology, radiology for curing cancer, technology for plant breeding, radioactive waste disposal, and safety.

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