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Nuclear reactor gets govt go-ahead

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Nuclear reactor gets govt go-ahead | The Thaiger

BANGKOK (The Nation): The controversial nuclear research reactor project in Nakhon Nayok has been given the construction go-ahead. This is despite the environmental impact assessment (EIA) not yet having been completed, and the safety analysis report having been rejected by a key committee. The National Commission on Atomic Energy for Peace yesterday approved the research project, to be built in the province’s Ongkharak district. Suwit Khunkitti, deputy prime minister and chairman of the relevant committee, said the project was necessary since it would conduct research and development in nuclear technology for the country’s benefit. “The commission today does not [any longer need to] discuss the environmental impact of the project. We believe the sub-committee [on nuclear safety] has carefully studied the impact. That is why we approved the construction,” said Suwit. The 3.55-billion-baht project has faced a series of hurdles since it was first proposed in 1989, and has met stiff opposition from residents near the site and environmentalists. It has also faced trouble from government bodies, since its EIA was twice rejected by the National Environment Board (NEB) and its safety analysis report was rejected by the Nuclear Safety Sub-committee. Only in July, the NEB reported to the Cabinet that the EIA contained out-of-date information and did not provide an assessment of the possible effects of a disaster, including earthquakes. The project is located in a fault zone. The approval for construction of the 10-megawatt research reactor came a day after Suwit, Science Minister Pinij Charusombat, and the secretary-general of the Office of Atomic Energy for Peace (OAEP), Kriengkorn Petchabutr, had lunch together. Kriengkorn, who reaches retirement age tomorrow, claimed however that the project should have no safety problems since it had been approved by the Argone National Laboratory in the US. The Argone laboratory is a US Department of Energy facility operated by the University of Chicago. However, Argone approval is unacceptable to some members of the Nuclear Safety Sub-committee who argue that the lab has no legal authority to approve a safety analysis report for any nuclear-reactor construction project. Kriengkorn added that completing the EIA would not prove to be a stumbling block. He claimed that the OAEP would succeed in providing the required information to the NEB and get the EIA approved very soon. “The project is now ready for construction,” he added. Yesterday’s approval upset environmentalists such as Santi Chokechaichamnarnkit of the Campaign for Alternative Energy. “For me the approval is unjustified and should not have happened, since the EIA and the safety analysis haven’t been approved yet,” he said. Science Minister Pinij excluded himself from the decision of the National Commission on Atomic Energy for Peace. “Frankly, I do not have any authority to make decisions on the project. Everything is under the consideration of Deputy Prime Minister Suwit,” he said. Kriengkorn said the OAEP had not yet set a construction schedule. He added that General Atomic, a US-based construction company, would be responsible for building the facility. The nuclear research project was first proposed by the Chatchai Choonhavan administration in 1989. The project – which won government approval in 1992 – has always been controversial, facing strong opposition from local residents and environmentalists alike. Its environmental impact assessment report has twice been rejected by the National Environment Board, most recently in July. Its safety analysis report was also rejected by the Nuclear Safety Sub-committee (NSS). The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission also refused to approve the safety report, whereupon the OAEP sought approval from the Argone Laboratory. The OAEP signed a contract in 1998 with GA to design, construct and operate the reactor. The contract expired three years ago, and GA demanded the OAEP pay 900 million baht in compensation. No payment has been made.

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Environment

The second baby dugong ‘Yamil’ dies in Phuket

The Thaiger

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The second baby dugong ‘Yamil’ dies in Phuket | The Thaiger

The second young dugong, being cared for by vets at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, has died.

Yamil, the baby dugong stranded on a Krabi beach on July 1, died of “shock and cardiac arrest” last night (Thursday) after suffering indigestion and gastroparesis.

The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources report that Yamil was sent from the Phuket Marine Biological Centre to Vachira Hospital last evening for an endoscopy to observe its gastrointestinal tract, which was found to be full of sea grass – a dugong’s normal food.

“But the sea grass had obstructed Yamil’s gut, causing its digestive system to stop functioning. This resulted in a buildup of gas in the digestive system, leading to the rupture of blood vessels and infection.”

Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari named the dugong ‘Yamil’ when he was moved from Krabi to Phuket for treatment and rehabilitation by marine vets. The animal was originally rescued by villagers from a Krabi beach where it washed up. His care has been sponsored by the Princess. Yamil, in the Yawi dialect, means “handsome young man of the sea”.

Last Friday night, baby dugong ‘Mariam’ died of shock while being treated in protected area near Koh Libong in Trang province.  Vets later found several pieces of plastic in its stomach.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Business

Official complaint filed with the DSI over The Peaks Residences Condominium in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Official complaint filed with the DSI over The Peaks Residences Condominium in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Inspections at the property in March this year – Kritsada Mueanhawong

Bangkok MP Sira Jenjaka has gone ahead and filed a long list of formal complaints over The Peaks Residences Condominium project being built in the hills above Kata Noi in Phuket.

The Palang Pracharat MP has also claimed to have had death threats made against him over his investigations and accusations over the condo’s land titles and ownership in recent weeks.

The MP filed an official complaint with the Department of Special Investigation chief in Bangkok this morning.

The complaint alleges that the Karon Mayor Tawee Thongcham and the municipality “neglected their duties” by issuing permits to Kata Beach Co Ltd, the developer of the The Peaks Residences Condominium.

In February this year the Karon OrBorTor issued a construction permit for the project but in April municipal officials also sent a letter acknowledging the ongoing legal proceedings over the legitimacy of the land title, the NorSor 3 Kor Number 1863.

The complaint alleges that the project is being built on land with a NorSor 3 Kor No. 1863 land title. The complainants allege that the legal land document would have had to have been presented to obtain building permits and construction to proceed. But they claim that, as the NorSor 3 Kor for that land was under consideration by the Administrative Court, a legal building permit could not be issued.

In August 2017, the Regional Administrative Court ruled that the NorSor 3 Kor No. 1863 land title was invalid. Furthermore it determined that the land was “protected forest land”.

The DSI formally received the complaint documents this morning.

Meanwhile, the developer of The Peaks Residences Condominium, Manassanan Nararattanawee, the CEO of Kata Beach Co Ltd, maintains that the project’s paperwork is all “proper’ and that “everything is under the law”.

“Our company has already suspended construction to wait for the judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court.”

Officials from the Internal Security Operations Command inspected the property in March this year as the owners promised to ‘slow down’ construction. Read that story HERE.

Official complaint filed with the DSI over The Peaks Residences Condominium in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Official complaint filed with the DSI over The Peaks Residences Condominium in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Department of Special Investigations

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Environment

Phuket marine vets report on the progress of dugong calf ‘Yamil’

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket marine vets report on the progress of dugong calf ‘Yamil’ | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation

A veterinary team at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre has removed the remaining partially-digested sea grass from the 3 month old dugong calf Yamil’s stomach to prevent complications from possible infection.

The calf still suffers from excess stomach and intestinal gas, abnormal heart rhythms and occasional seizures.

X-ray results showed liquid food is still passing through Yamil’s digestive track, so veterinarians were removing the remaining sea grass from its stomach and would provide the marine mammal with liquid nutrients and minerals, as well as painkillers and antibiotics. Veterinarians say they are keeping a close watch on the young dugong.

The male baby dugong was found washed ashore on Krabi’s Bo Muang Beach on July 1 with abrasions on more than 50% of its body. It is currently in the care of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre until it is old enough and strong enough to be returned to the sea.

SOURCE: The Nation

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