17 November 2009 – The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has signed an agreement with a Chinese developer of nuclear power technology, paving the way for the country’s first atomic power plant, says governor Sombat Sarntijaree.
EGAT signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chinese state-owned China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC) and CLP Holding Co, under which they agreed to a knowledge and information exchange on nuclear power technology over the next three years.
CGNPC has developed its own nuclear-power technology over the past decade including the CPR-1000 pressurized water reactor. France’s Areva co-developed the Chinese technology, said Mr Sombat. EGAT has not decided whether it will use the Chinese technology, he told the Bangkok Post.
EGAT is tasked with building two nuclear power generators, with a total capacity of 2000 MW, under the current national power development plan. The power plants should come online between 2020 and 2021.
As required by the plan, EGAT is now studying available sites, nuclear technology, related legal issues and human resource development. But the final decision on whether the country will actually build its first nuclear power stations will not take place until next year.
EGAT last year sent more than 80 engineers and technicians to attend a training course on nuclear power in China. Pornchai Rujiprapa, permanent-secretary to the Energy Ministry, said the MoU with China covers legal issues and updated investment cost.
CGNPC will provide EGAT with research and development and on-the-job training at its nuclear power plant and technical assistance. Chairman Qian Zhimin said CGNPC owns 53 nuclear power projects which accounted for nearly 20 per cent of global capacity.
“We are about to install another eight nuclear reactors units in Guangdong, where we will use our latest technology which will help us cut greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants,” he said.