US to help Thailand harness nuclear energy

BANGKOK: The United States will help Thailand develop nuclear power through a new class of small reactors as part of a program to combat climate change, visiting Vice President Kamala Harris announced on Saturday.

The White House said the aid was part of its Net Zero World Initiative, a project launched at last year’s Glasgow climate summit in which the United States partners with the private sector and philanthropists to promote clean energy.

Thailand does not have nuclear power, and public sentiment on the issue has deteriorated since 2011. Fukushima disaster in Japan.

The White House said it would offer technical assistance to the Southeast Asian country to deploy technology under development for small modular reactors that are factory-built and portable. Such reactors are generally considered safer because they do not require human intervention to be shut down in an emergency.

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The White House said in a statement that US experts will work with Thailand to deploy reactors that will meet the “highest safety, security and non-proliferation standards” and have a smaller footprint than conventional nuclear power plants.

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US rivals China and Russia, as well as Argentina, are also developing small modular reactors with prototypes in the design phase.

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The White House did not provide a timeline, but said it would support Thailand, which is highly vulnerable to climate change, to achieve climate change by 2065. to become carbon neutral.

Harris is visiting the US ally for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and discussed climate change efforts with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O-Cha.

Harris also spoke with Prayuth about developments in neighboring Myanmar, where the military is expected to launch a military offensive in 2021. overthrew the elected government in February.

Harris “condemned the atrocities and human rights abuses committed by the Burmese regime,” the White House said in a statement about the meeting, which uses the former name of Myanmar.

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“The vice president has made it clear that the United States stands with the people of Burma,” it said.

Myanmar’s junta released about 6,000 prisoners, including foreigners, on Thursday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was in Bangkok at the time, welcomed the move but said there was no evidence the regime was making wider improvements.

During Harris’ visit, the White House also announced an initiative with Thailand to boost fifth-generation Internet security and a project to build a “world-class” cancer treatment center in the eastern province of Chonburi.

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