Japan reactor troubles spark Thai nuclear protest

BANGKOK - About 1,000 people protested in northeastern Thailand on Tuesday against the country's plan to build nuclear power stations, following a radiation leak in earthquake-hit Japan, a local governor said.

"The people came because they are afraid about the situation in Japan," said Viroj Jirarungsan, governor of Kalasin Province.

"I share my fear with the people in Kalasin that Thailand should not build any nuclear power plant. I think we can go for alternative energy such as biodiesel, wind or solar," he told AFP.

"Given the situation in Japan, I have to say that we have no confidence in nuclear power anymore."

Viroj said that while utility officials have visited the area to conduct a survey, he was not aware of any firm plan to build a nuclear power station in his province.

Thailand, which was badly hit by an Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, has said events in Japan might influence its provisional plan to build several nuclear plants.

"A nuclear plant requires significant security measures in many areas, especially as recently natural disasters and terrorism are increasing," Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told reporters on Sunday.

"Thailand is now studying these matters but what happened in Japan probably affects the decision whether to build nuclear plants in Thailand," he added.