Back Stories » Asia » Cambodia, Thailand Take Baby Steps Toward Nuclear Power Development

Cambodia, Thailand Take Baby Steps Toward Nuclear Power Development

As Vietnam's own nuclear power plant sits on the backburner, our neighbors are beginning to take an interest in atomic energy.

In an effort to keep up with their own development, both Cambodia and Thailand have taken baby steps toward implementing their own nuclear power projects, reports the Straits Times.

Cambodia recently inked two separate deals with Russia to set up a nuclear power information center as well as a joint working group which is geared toward peaceful uses of nuclear power.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, the national legislature passed a bill which will shore up the country's regulations surrounding the use of radioactive material.

Though neither country has officially announced a foray into nuclear energy, Olli Heinonen, a senior fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, believes these moves put both nations in a position to construct nuclear power plants.

Still, he estimates both countries would require at least a decade to successfully implement a nuclear energy plan.

“Just to build a nuclear power plant, in the building phase, you need about 1,000 engineers working with various aspects of the project,” Heinonen told the Straits Times.

For the time being, Vietnam remains at the forefront of nuclear energy development in the area, though officials are still working out a few kinks – like where to put its nuclear waste, for example. Thailand envisions having two nuclear power plants up and running by 2036, while Cambodia has yet to even broach the subject.

As demand for electricity grows – the 2015 ASEAN Energy Outlook Report estimates an 80% growth in primary energy demand between 2013 and 2040 – Southeast Asia can expect to see more atomic energy in future.

[Photo via Flickr user La Veu del País Valencià]

Related Articles:

Vietnam Delays First Nuclear Plant Until 2020

Vietnam Has Nowhere to Put Its Nuclear Waste

[Photos] Inside Vietnam's Only Nuclear Reactor

Partner Content