Divisional activities toughen over coal-fired generating station in the state of Kayin
One Thai firm that plans to build a $2. 8 billion nuclear generating station says its advanced technologies will forestall environmental harm, but local inhabitants are skeptical. Divisionsions ARE curing in Kayin state about a proposed coal-fired generating station that the goverment says is necessary to assist develop but is used by some groups of the municipality because of concerns about its possible environmental impacts.
Its interests mainly concentrate on the advancing technologies used at the US$2. 8 billion nuclear energy station in Hpa-an township, permitting it to burn less coal per MWh than other ways of producing electricity from the coal. On April 3, 2017, the TTCL Public Co Ltd. and the provincial governments of Thailand concluded a agreement of trust for the building of the facility, which is scheduled to produce 1,280 MW when fully commissioned in 2024.
The TTCL has a 95 per cent stake in the TTCL projects, the other five per cent is held by the state governor. It is located on 333 ha on the Thanlwin (Salween) riverbank, about 20 km northern of Hpa-An city centre, and the affected municipalities included the town of Thoneinn. Kayin State Secretary of State for Energy and Industries U Soe Hlaing said the plan was endorsed by the state administration and is now waiting for the Union government's agreement.
"Once it has been cleared, we will start the implementation of the plan as soon as possible," he said to Frontier on 5 January. However, the projekt meets with strong opposition from the population. Tayzaniya, head of a convent in the town of Thoneinn, is skeptical about the claim that the progressive technologies used in the facility will not have a detrimental effect on the world.
"We know that it is not acceptable in all states and regions of the country," said Tayzaniya, referring to the resistance to Myanmar's first coal-fired station in Tigyit in the south of Shan State. Operation of the site was stopped by the Union Solidarity and Development Party in 2014 due to public environmental claims, but locals have expressed concern that work could resume soon after testing facilities were carried out there in 2016.
Kayin State Chief Minister Daw Nang Khin Htwe Myint, an avid supporter of the initiative, hosted a group visit to coal-fired generating facilities in Japan in November 2016. Kuthala U, a Thaiktaw villager, participated in the journey with 20 other members of the group.
They have learnt how coal-fired facilities can create employment for locals. "But I have learnt that coal-fired generation in Japan is being constructed far from home," he said, and added that if the Thanlwin plan continues, the administration and the privately owned business should discuss employment possibilities and public safety issues with the population.
"For all we know, we know what effects charcoal can have and we are concerned about any risk in the near term, but there are always advantages and disadvantages," Kuthala said. Native Saw Nay Lin Htun, a Karen, said he wanted to see developments in his home state, but was hoping that they would be accompanied by it.
Mr Nay Lin Htun said that the state and TTLC had given the village people only good news about the use of charcoal, but the CSO' said to the affected municipalities that they should be expecting long-term adverse effects from the station. "Nay Lin Htun said, "If this venture continues, the woods and the rivers we depend on will be devastated.
The combustion of charcoal to produce power will contaminate the atmosphere, soil and waters and affect human safety near the facility, he said. "and in the name of progress, our territory will be devastated. /But other areas[of the country], they have development," he said. Saburo Obara, TTLC VP, said that the relatively low costs and the rapid deployment of the coal-fired power station made the operation necessary.
"Burma currently has a lack of energy, and it could be another 40 years before there is enough power," he said. "When there are more benefits than drawbacks to a given venture, we should consider it for development," he commented. Mr Tayzaniya praised Prime Minister Nang Khin Htwe Myint's commitment to developing Kayin, which has fallen behind other states and areas, partly because of a lack of energy to sustain economic expansion.
"When there is enough energy in Kayin State, businesses will come and invest," he said to Frontier. He added, however, that although TTLC had informed the village people that the station would not have a detrimental effect on them or the local community, there was still no need to give any assurances that it would take full ownership of the installation.
He said that the first priority for the inhabitants of the Kayin state was to achieve a better transportation system and that the plan should be taken into consideration only after they have been implemented. Speaking at a Hpa-an convent on 22 November, Nang Khin Htwe Myint called on locals to consider the state' s advantages.
At the Kayin Investment Fair in Hpa-an on 24 November, it confirmed the importance of the facility for the country's economy. In his opening address, Union Minister of Planning and Finance U Kyaw Win underlined the importance of power for sustainable energy use. "If you don't have power, don't even think about the development," he said.