VP Harris: U.S. will help Thailand with small nuclear reactors

As part of a partnership to fight climate change, the U.S. aims to help Thailand acquire and deploy a new class of small nuclear reactors to generate clean energy, Vice President Kamala Harris announced at the APEC Summit in Bangkok last week.

VP Harris represented U.S. President Joe Biden at the Summit of the 21 member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Thailand is the APEC host country for 2022 and passed the baton to the U.S., which will host APEC 2023, at the conclusion of the Summit.

“We really look forward to working with Thailand to take advantage of the benefits of small modular reactors and reliable clean energy sources,” a senior U.S. official traveling with Harris told AFP news agency.

The collaboration is part of a multi-faceted partnership to address climate change and advance clean energy adoption and development. The reactors would become available to Thailand as part of its membership in the U.S.-led Net Zero World Initiative. The devices are modular, factory-built, portable and considered extremely low risk because they do not need a person to shut them down in case of an emergency.

A White House statement said that the reactors have the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation.

“The U.S. and Thailand are committed to continuing to play leading roles in addressing the climate crisis as we raise our climate ambitions to reach our net-zero targets and unlock economic growth,” The White House added.

“The Vice President is launching a new clean energy partnership with Thailand to build capacity for the secure and safe deployment of advanced nuclear reactor technologies under the U.S. Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) Program,” The White House said further.

Thailand has had a small nuclear research reactor since 1962. Proposals to build a nuclear power plant to diversify the Kingdom’s energy portfolio, however, lost public support after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

Photo courtesy of https://www.mfa.go.th/en/content/