Rainbow Warrior arrives in Sichon , Greenpeace calls on Thai government to “get smart”

Feature story - September 22, 2010
Sichon, Nakhon Si Thammarat – The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior arrived in Nakhon Si Thamarat province today to a colourful reception by a flotilla of about forty fishing boats and local communities from Sichon who are opposing Thai government’s plans of setting up a nuclear power plant in the province.

Community leaders from Sichon meet with the crew on board the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior.

“Investment in nuclear energy and its infrastructure is a dangerous and expensive distraction from the real solutions – energy efficiency, renewable technology and decentralised energy. By decentralising our energy system and producing energy locally, Thailand can meet its energy needs in a much cheaper, cleaner and safer way,” said Chariya Senpong, Greenpeace Southeast Asia climate and energy campaigner.

Greenpeace is calling on the Thai government and the National Energy Policy Council to get smart and phase out dirty coal and dangerous nuclear energy from the 2010 Power Development Plan, and instead invest in sustainable and long term solutions,” she added.

Thailand’s 2010 Power Development Plan (PDP) has identified 17 potential sites for nuclear power plants in 9 different provinces.  But local opposition to these proposals is growing, due to the inherent risks associated with nuclear energy, ranging from Chernobyl-like accidents to unsolved issues of nuclear waste disposal.

Beyond the safety issues, it is a well known fact that nuclear power is expensive, takes too long to build, does not increase national energy independence, does not provide jobs for the local population, and is incompatible with most grids in developing countries.  Thailand must guard against becoming locked for decades into expensive and unsustainable patterns of energy production, transmission and consumption. The promotion of nuclear power as the answer to climate change is a dangerous diversion from the real solutions.  A massive uptake of renewable energy and the adoption of energy efficiency are the only effective ways to combat climate change.

“Greenpeace supports the aspirations of the Thai people for a greener and cleaner future. The Rainbow Warrior is in Nakhon Si Thammarat in solidarity with community movements who are opposed to large scale industrial projects that endanger public health and safety, as well as traditional livelihoods such as agriculture and fisheries on which millions of Thai depend.  Throughout Thailand, from Nakhon Si Thamarat to Samui, to Chumpon, to Prachuab Kirikahn, communities are clamoring to Turn The Tide of dirty development,” said Tara Buakamsri, country representative of Greenpeace Southeast Asia sin Thailand.  

The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior is in Thailand for the first leg of the “Turn the Tide” tour of Southeast Asia.  Greenpeace is calling on ASEAN member nations to support green investments and adopt low-carbon growth pathway for future development.  The Tour marks 10 years of Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigns to protect forests, catalyze an Energy Revolution, promote sustainable agriculture, and stop water pollution in the region.