Srisuwan, who is known as the trailblazer of the newly established “Rak Chart Rak Paen Din” (Love for Nation and Homeland) institution, has raised voice against the plan of setting up a 20-megawatt reactor which has remained a controversy due to safety issues.
This contentious reactor is inherently a component of the nuclear research establishment operating under the prestigious Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology. It’s worth noting that this plan doesn’t belong to the present government. Since 1990, it has been a part of the blueprints of past regimes. However, the execution has been constantly adjourned due to multitudinous lawsuits along with firm resistance from the public.
Srisuwan addressed his apprehension regarding the safety hazards this reactor brings to people, particularly those hailing from Nakhon Nayok and its neighbouring provinces.
“The reactor, situated close to Nakhon Nayok River’s bank, could potentially lead to the radioactive pollution of our integral water sources connecting to this paramount waterway. It includes the Bang Pakong River flowing in Chachoengsao province, the Rangsit Canal in Pathum Thani province, and the lifeline of Bangkok, Chao Phraya River,” he highlighted.
Moreover, he accentuated that the part of the reactor being subterranean could risk the pollution of groundwater resources. During drought, it tends to be the only source of water for the local populace of Nakhon Nayok.
Relevant safety norms set by the International Atomic Energy Agency could be compromised if Ongkharak is chosen as the site for the reactor, which is based on an over 30-year-old survey data, warned Srisuwan. He added that it’s a severe violation to erect a nuclear reactor on a flood-prone soft ground or proximate to a community or an airport.
Srisuwan expressed his concern over the existing security protocol related to radioactive substances in Thailand. He brought up a recent incident to substantiate his critique. A cylinder of caesium-137 went missing from a coal-fired power station in Prachinburi earlier this year. Much later, its traces were detected in a steel-melting plant located in a distinct district of the same province.