Thailand delays first nuclear power plant to 2023

BANGKOK, April 27 Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:58pm BST

BANGKOK, April 27 (Reuters) - Thailand has delayed its first nuclear power plant project by three years to 2023 on mounting public concerns after Japan's nuclear crisis, Energy Minister Wannarat Channukul said on Wednesday.

"The meeting of the state National Energy Policy Committee decided to postpone Thailand's nuclear power plant project by another three years," Wannarat said in a statement.

Under the initial power development plan for 2010-2030, Thailand's first nuclear power plant was scheduled to begin operation in 2020. It planned to build five nuclear power plants with capacity of 1,000 megawatts per plant.

Thailand's nuclear power plant development committee is reviewing the plan in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency and Japan's nuclear crisis raised concerns about the project, the statement said.

The delay is expected to strengthen demand for domestic gas. Natural gas accounts for about 70 percent of fuel for power generation in Thailand. (Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong. Editing by Jason Szep)

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