by Staff Writers
Bangkok (AFP) Sept 3, 2007
Thailand is seeking some 200 nuclear experts as the kingdom aims to build its first atomic power plant over the next decade in a bid to cope with a looming power shortage, the prime minister said Monday.
“It will take us 10 to 15 years to have the first nuclear power plant, and we need 200 nuclear experts to help us,” army-installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told reporters.
Thailand’s largest energy utility plans to invest six billion dollars to build the plant, which is expected to be operational in 2020.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has said the planned nuclear facility would produce 4,000 megawatts of electricity.
Thailand currently relies on natural gas for 70 percent of its electricity, with the rest coming from oil, coal and hydro-power.
One third of the natural gas consumed in Thailand is imported, mainly from neighbouring Myanmar, and EGAT has eyed nuclear power as a stable energy source due to worries over a future hike in natural gas and oil prices.
Thailand first flirted with nuclear power 30 years ago but the idea was dropped after it found natural gas reserves in the Gulf of Thailand.
But with natural gas now running low, the government’s latest 15-year Power Development Plan, which runs through 2021, for the first time called for the consideration of nuclear power as a new energy source.
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