Currently, there is no general opinion in Thailand about whether it is worth to develop nuclear power in the country. The issue over the profitability of the nuclear power plant construction has been discussing since 1966, but yet there has been no progress. Earlier, the Thailand government intended to include nuclear energy in the national energy development plan, but after the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima in 2011, it changed the policy.
Within the period May 14-16, the 10th International Forum Atomexpo, organized by the Russian state corporation Rosatom, was held in Sochi, the Russian city. One of its goals was rise of public awareness level regarding the use of nuclear energy. Representatives of 65 countries, including representatives of Thailand, participated in the forum.
Usually, nuclear energy is associated with a nuclear bomb and there is a myth that with the help of technologies used at nuclear power plants, it is possible to create weapons of mass destruction. In fact, to create a nuclear bomb, enriched uranium or plutonium with a concentration of 90% is necessary, while only 3.5-5% enriched uranium is used for the reactor operation.
All concerns about the use of nuclear energy are groundless, especially given the fact that Thailand already has its own research reactor run under the supervision of the Department for the Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy. The concentration of radioactive elements used in the research reactor constitutes 20%.
According to Egor Simonov, Director of the Regional Center Rosatom South East Asia, rise of public awareness level on the nuclear energy and accepting by the people plans for the nuclear power plants construction are considered to be one of the main factors in the development of nuclear power in the country.
It is necessary to remember that technologies are constantly developing. We cannot compare old reactors, for example of the very same Fukushima nuclear power plant, with nuclear reactors of 3rd generation that were developed in accordance with modern safety standards.
Mr. Egor Simonov noted that 36 nuclear power units are currently used in Russia, and the public acceptability of nuclear energy is at a high level, especially in the areas near nuclear power plants. This is due to the fact that nuclear power plants have many advantages: they give possibilities to infrastructure development and new jobs creation.
Atomic energy is already being explored by such countries as the United Arab Emirates, Belarus and Bangladesh. It can be added that the construction of a nuclear power plant in Thailand is possible. The primary goal is to obtain people’s support. Taking into account the growing economy of Thailand and its role in ASEAN, the development of new technologies and the development of alternative energy sources are of vital importance to meet electricity needs.
Renewable energy sources are a good alternative, but they cannot provide a stable electricity supply due to dependence on natural and weather conditions. Nuclear power plants as renewable sources, they do not produce carbon dioxide emissions. Although the NPP is an expensive project, but taking into account that the life cycle of the plant can be of more than 60 years, then the total cost of electricity and project implementation is the smallest among other sources.