Mekong Utility Watch

Governor hits out at plan for nuclear plant

The Nation
May 1, 1998

CHUMPHON — Governor Kongsak Liewmanorom yesterday opposed the proposed construction of a nuclear power plant in the province and called for a public hearing before any decision is made.

”Chumphon is not appropriate to house a nuclear power plant. Why does it have to be built in Chumphon or
any other province in the South? Why not the North, the East or the Central region?” Kongsak asked.

The governor said that since Chumphon is a tourism province a nuclear power plant must not be built. He
added that a public hearing is needed before the government arrives at a decision.

He said a garbage power plant would be a better and safer bet. If the government really wants to build a
nuclear power plant in the province, it must guarantee that the public will not be affected by radiation, he said.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has proposed four sites for the country’s first nuclear plant
two in Chumphon and one each in << Prachuap Khiri Khan>> and Nakhon Si Thammarat. Construction has
been backed by Deputy Prime Minister and Prachakorn Thai leader Samak Sundaravej and the Science
Ministry, whose minister is Prachakorn Thai secretary-general Yingphan Manasikarn. Samak and Yingphan
have been criticised by environmentalists who argue that the country is not ready for such a power plant.

Khao Damsee, a official at Chumphon Industry Office, said yesterday the government must produce evidence
to show people living in the province that a nuclear power plant is not dangerous. A careful study must
conducted before a construction site is approved, he said.

”We are afraid of a poor standard of construction since officials involved are likely to be corrupt,” he said,
adding that construction must be of the best standard available.

Somboon Prommas, head of the Democrat Party’s Chumphon branch, said the Tambon Pak Klong
administration is preparing a petition to protest against the proposed plant.

He claimed that several wealthy people are trying to buy plots of land in Pathiu district which they will sell
when the local prices skyrocket if the district is chosen for the power plant.

Somboon suggested that the government must clearly explain why it has to build the project in the province.

”What it must do is inform the local people. You should not build a nuclear plant here just because every
other provinces said no,” he said.

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