Plodprasob wants a new nuclear reactor in Thailand
Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee vowed yesterday to build a new nuclear research reactor in Thailand within the next five years.
"Thailand should have another nuclear reactor. I'll do my best to start the project again," Plodprasob said when he presided over the opening of the 2nd Asian Symposium on Material Testing Reactors.
The event coincided with an open house at the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT) held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the country's sole nuclear research reactor.
A bid to build a new reactor in Ongkharak in Nakhon Nayok has been put on hold due to a lawsuit. But Plodprasob said he would not wait till the lawsuit goes through the courts - he would seek to restart the project.
"Probably, we can buy a new 10-megawatt reactor with better technology," he said.
Hongsa project brings town power in more ways than one
Besides the 250-metre chimney stack, the highest man-made structure in this hilly town, Hongsa Power, which is proceeding with construction of its US$3.7-billion (Bt144-billion) coal-fired power plant, is bringing about many other big changes.
Coming with construction is the creation of jobs for about 3,000 locals, according to governor Kamsing Sorasuk. Then, with electricity supplied by the plant, he foresees more factories specialising in food processing as well as new service industries.
"When I first came here three years ago, only 46 per cent of households had access to electricity. Now, the ratio is over 70 per cent. In two years' time, this will be 100 per cent," he said in an interview.
The 1,878-megawatt power plant, owned 40 per cent each by Thailand's Banpu and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding and 20 per cent by the Laotian government, is now 27 per cent completed. The construction work is proceeding even as Banpu is appealing a lawsuit involving its initial role in the mining and power-generating concession. Thailand's Civil Court recently ordered Banpu to pay Siva Ngarntavee and his group more than Bt31 billion.
New BTS Extension transforms Bang Na
The new BTS extension line to Soi Bearing and more than 15,000 condo units in Bang Na district set to transfer to owners in the coming years have seen a mushrooming of retailers in this area.
Rienchai Likitplug, president of the property developer BKK Grand Estate Co, said the skytrain extension from Sois On Nut to Bearing that began running last year has triggered a boom in Bang Na.
The area has changed dramatically in recent years, especially near the Bang Na intersection, he said.
As soon as the skytrain opened service to Bearing station, the sales rate for the company's condominium project The Coast Bangkok, located near the Bang Na intersection on Sukhumvit Road opposite the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre, doubled to 40-50 units a month.
Launched in late 2009, the eight-rai site will comprise Tower A with 39 storeys and 412 units and Tower B with 35 storeys and 408 units for a total sales value of 4.5 billion baht.
Eight banks back Gulf JP power plant
Gulf JP UT Co, a subsidiary of Gulf JP Co, has clinched a Bt39-billion financing facility from eight banks for a gas-fired power-plant project in Ayutthaya's Uthai district, with commercial operations set to commence in 2015.
Four of the eight banks are Thai - Kasikornbank, Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and Land and Houses Bank.
The four foreign banks are Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Asian Development Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
The credit facility is in both baht and US dollars.
The project is under the independent power producer (IPP) scheme.
Japanese firms to build Thai power plant
A consortium of Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Electric Power Development Co., plans to build a large thermal power plant in Thailand, according to sources.
The infrastructure development export package includes construction, management and operation of the plant, as well as procurement of funds. The plant will be built in Rojana Industrial Park in central Thailand.
The plant will be built using Mitsubishi's latest power generation equipment and will be managed by a company that Electric Power Development will take a 90 percent stake in. It will have a capacity of 1,600 megawatts and is set to start operating from 2015.
The cost of the project is expected to be about 1.2 billion dollars (96 billion yen). Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., Asian Development Bank and four Thai banks will extend loans for the project.
Thai Labour shortage holds back new projects
The construction industry's lack of workers has resulted in many projects not being able to expand, says the Construction Institute of Thailand (CIT).
Chakporn Oonjitt, executive director of the CIT, which is under the Industry Ministry, said some works, especially housing projects, have been delayed, while developers have been reluctant to take on new ones.
The supply of labour is not sufficient to support the large number of public and private projects being launched this year and next, said Mr Chakporn.
He said the construction sector is expected to grow by 15% this year, with an estimated investment value exceeding 900 billion baht.
"[The industry] cannot speed up expansion due to a shortage of 300,000 workers," said Mr Chakporn.
The National Statistical Office said the industrial sector requires an average of 2.3 to 2.6 million workers per year, but the demand this year is as high as 2.9 million, as several projects are expanding.
Firetide deploys world’s longest wireless infrastructure mesh network in Thailand
Firetide, Inc., a provider of high-performance wireless infrastructure mesh networks, announced on Oct. 23 that Thailand’s Royal Irrigation Department has completed its phase three deployment of the world’s first mesh network capable of delivering live high-definition (HD) wireless video feeds of river water levels and telemetry data for real-time flood forecasting and historical data collection.
In addition to the live HD video feeds to the control room, live VGA resolution video feeds are provided to the public via the Internet. The Firetide network, which covers a geographical distance of 231 miles (372 km), is the world’s longest fully redundant wireless mesh network. New expansion phases of the network are planned for deployment beginning in 2H of 2012.
Each year, the reigning King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, takes a journey up the Chao Phraya River to get a better understanding of the well-being of the Thai people and to get a first-hand look at the river and the massive agricultural fields it feeds. Now, at the age of 84, the King is unable to take this annual trip up the river, but still wishes to monitor rising water levels during the monsoon season in order to provide the Thai people with an early flood warning system and to keep a close eye on the health of the country’s agricultural crops along the river.
S.Korean firms win $1bln hydroplant deal in Laos
South Korean builder SK Engineering and Construction and state-run Korean Western Power have won a $1.0 billion deal to build and operate a hydropower plant in Laos, an official said on Tuesday.
Under the deal with the Laotian government, SK Construction will build three dams and a hydropower plant at the Mekong River in the southern plateau of Bolaven by 2018, an SK Construction spokesman told AFP.
The Xe-Namnoy plant -- with an estimated capacity of 410 megawatts -- will be owned and managed by Korean Western Power until 2045, after which it will be taken over by the Laotian authorities, he said.
Archetype Group Wins Contract for Project/Construction Management Services on Bangkok’s Iconic Mahanakhon Tower
Archetype Group, a leading multi-disciplinary construction consultancy in Asia, announced today their appointment as Project and Construction Manager for the new prestigious and iconic MahaNakhon Tower in Bangkok.
The MahaNakhon Tower is a striking mixed-use development in the heart of Bangkok’s central business district. It features a unique design that introduces a three-dimensional ribbon of architectural ‘pixels’ circling the tower’s full height.
At 77 stories, and with a GFA of 135,000m2, the tower will house the Ritz-Carlton Residences, with a mix of two-to-five bedroom homes, and The Bangkok Edition Hotel, which will offer a range of outstanding amenities. At the top of the tower will be a multi-level, three-floor Terrace Bar & Restaurant with dramatic double-height spaces, private dining facilities for entertaining, and a rooftop outdoor bar with sweeping 360° views of the skyline and river, 314 metres above the city.
Empire Tower in Sathorn a showcase of 'trade-retail synergy'
With a Bt1-billion budget, TCC Capital Land, the property arm of TCC Group, is embarking on a new era for the Empire Tower, taking Bangkok's Sathorn district to new heights as a commercial hub.
"It's the global trend for mixed-use building development to meet the tenants' demand," Wallapa Traisorat, senior executive vice president of TCC Land Group, said yesterday. "With our mission, we will create a new synergy, combining business and retail space as one. As a result, the Empire Tower will represent Bangkok's most buzzing business epicentre."
A new landmark will appear on Sathorn Road when the property is transformed. A nine-storey building will go up in front of the Empire Tower main office building as a lifestyle centre.
The new building will feature a hybrid of modern and contemporary architecture to facilitate convenient connectivity, business exclusivity, new lifestyles and green landscaping.
The 58-storey Empire Tower, the largest office building in the country, will be renovated to harmonise with the retail centre. The construction and renovation process was commenced early this month and is scheduled for completion in early 2014.
Kan Air ready for take-off
Airline increases fleet, builds Koh Phangan island airport
Kan Air, a Thai commuter airline founded by a debt-collecting firm, is embarking on an aggressive growth plan including a major fleet expansion and building an airport in southern Thailand.
The airline has recently acquired its first jet, the Beechcraft Premier I light aircraft. It may also lease two ATR 42 turboprops and two Embraer ERJ 145 regional jets, while it is advancing construction of an airport on Koh Phangan.
The plan represents the boldest move since Kan Air, or Kannithi Aviation, was launched in 2010 as an offshoot of Kannithi Co, which was established in 2005 to provide debt management services and litigation in hire-purchase cases, mostly involving cars.
Kan Air is spending 700 million baht to build an airport on Koh Phangan, the island famous for its full moon parties and as a backpackers' destination, located in Surat Thani in the Gulf of Thailand.
Construction is in full swing and, when the airport is up and running in the second half of next year, it will provide for the first time direct air access to Koh Phangan's larger sister island Koh Samui to the south and the smaller Koh Tao to the north.
Powerway to build 18 MW PV plant in Thailand
Powerway notes that its racking system for the PV plant is designed to consider aesthetics, the geography of the site and the customer's budget
Powerway Renewable Energy Company Ltd. (Foshan City, China) has been awarded a contract to build an 18 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Thailand.
In addition to supplying engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, Powerway is also supplying the mounting structures and thin-film PV modules for the plant through a collaboration with a "renowned" thin-film producer.
"Thailand, being one of the growing markets for photovoltaic developments, attracts a host of internationally renowned companies resulting in an extreme competitive environment," noted Powerway in a press statement.
To LEED or mis-LEED - not a minor question
Bangkok's current building boom is "throwing up" a huge assortment of structures: most are legal though not all; some are ethically sustainable but not many; a few have architectural appeal, though a considerable number look cheap and ugly.
An example worthy of praise is the recently launched Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard. Visually stimulating, this project is a well-thought-out, high-end construction, and has been designed to comply with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria with a view to vigorously promoting energy efficiency and sustainability. Pats on the back all round!
Just 300 metres further along Rajadamri Road is the St Regis Hotel and Residences. Situated on prime land, this property is disappointingly office-like and boxy. What a wasted architectural opportunity. In terms of general planning, design and overall sustainability, those in charge of the project set out from the start to "mis-LEED". The hotel opened illegally early last year, and remains so on a number of counts. Problems with drainage, sewage, noise, health, safety and hygiene are ongoing and there are significant public liability insurance issues. Additionally, questions are now being asked regarding the structural integrity of the building. The hotel's defensive attitude towards the local community remains scandalously inadequate and the American hotel brand name has been locally exploited to paper over six years of legal, constructional and operational cracks - cracks that continue to this day to affect hotel guests, local residents, the public and international investors.
Procastination on Bangkok Futsal Arena leaves us with egg on our faces
Thailand will host the 2012 Fifa Futsal World Cup at four competition sites in Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima. With the sport's showpiece event just around the corner, and the main competition venue at Bangkok Futsal Arena still under construction, things are progressively turning sour for the host nation.
Thailand beat strong candidates such as China, Iran, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Sri Lanka and Guatemala in the bidding process on March 18, 2009 to become the third nation from Asia to host the tournament, following Hong Kong in 1992 and Taiwan in 2004.
The premier event is scheduled for November 1 to 18, with the cream of the world futsal (indoor five-a-side football) set to contest the enlarged finals featuring 24 teams in all, four more than in Brazil four years ago.
The renovations of three venues - Hua Mark Indoor Stadium and Nimibutr Gymnasium in Bangkok and the Chalerm Prakiart Gymnasium inside Nakhon Ratchasima Sports Complex - have been completed and the sites are ready for use. Unfortunately, the main battleground, the 12,000-seater Bangkok Futsal Arena in Nong Chok, remains under construction.
Bangkok rushes to get main Futsal World Cup stadium ready - less than two weeks to hand-over
Construction workers are putting the final touches to Bangkok's showpiece venue for the 2012 Fifa Futsal World Cup after its construction fell behind schedule.
The 12,000 all-seater capacity Bangkok Futsal Arena in Nong Chok is due to be handed over to 2012 Fifa Futsal World Cup organisers in less than two weeks. Seats and a scoreboard were being installed today, and the area outside the stadium is being developed.
Construction on the site was initially delayed because of heavy rain in October 2011 that brought flooding to parts of Bangkok, with further problems caused by more heavy rain in recent weeks and the threat of the Gaemi weather system hitting Thailand's capital.
Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra on Friday promised no more delays in construction before the handover to Fifa on Oct 21.
"All main construction has finished. Now workers are working only on details," the governor said. "I can confirm that Fifa will get the stadium on Oct 21."
BMCL wins bid to build Purple Line
Ch. Karnchang will manage the project
Bangkok Metro Plc (BMCL), the SET-listed subway operator, has been awarded the Purple Line contract for 80 billion baht, hoping to increase ridership and improve its financial results.
The company has not broken even since the subway began operating in 2004.
President Chaiwat Utaiwan said BMCL's board agreed yesterday to the company entering into the agreement for the Purple Line project of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA).
The elevated route running from Bang Sue station to Bang Yai in Nonthaburi covers a distance of 22 kilometres.
With a total term of 30 years, work will be divided into two phases including the 20.7-billion first phase of design, supply, installation and testing of the mechanical and engineering (M&E) systems for a period not exceeding 1,200 days from the date of execution of the concession agreement.
Myanmar, S. Korean firms launch gas-fired power plant
The Myanmar electric power authorities and five South Korean companies have launched a 500- megawatt (mw) gas-fired combined cycle power plant project in Yangon’s Thakayta township, official media reported Sunday.
The five S. Korean companies are Busan Korea Biotechnology Co, Korea Western Power Co, Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co, Hana Daetoo Securities Co and Hexa International Co..
The project, launched on Saturday, is aimed at supplying electric power to Myanmar’s Thilawa industrial zone, one of the special economic zones in Myanmar, Yangon Region Chief Minister U Myint Swe was quoted as saying.
In September, three Japanese industrial and economic groups have reached agreement with the Myanmar government to establish the Thilawa special economic zone (SEZ) in Yangon’s Thilawa Port.
Under the agreement, Japan’s Mitsuibishi Corporation, Marubeni Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation will obtain 49 percent share to run the 2,400-hectare Thilawa SEZ, while Myanmar entrepreneurs in the form of public company, will take 51 percent.
Bangkok Car park rules under scrutiny
Condominium developers are urging the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to speed up amending car park requirements for projects along the mass transit systems.
Thamrong Panyasakulwong, president of the Thai Condominium Association (TCA), said this would benefit condominium buyers, as easing municipal requirements for car parks would increase the saleable area of condos while reducing their selling prices.
"Car parks generally account for 25% of total construction costs and are a hidden cost in a condo unit's price. If the requirements are eased or even lifted altogether, that would shave 10% off the selling price of a unit," said Mr Thamrong.
He was speaking at yesterday's opening of the 27th House & Condo Fair, which runs until Sunday at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
A newly constructed condominium building in Bangkok is required to have one parking space for every 120 square metres of construction area.
Army chief expresses worry over Cambodia nuclear plan
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has expressed concern over Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's plan to build a nuclear power plant in Cambodia's Koh Kong province adjacent to Thailand's Trat province.
Gen Prayuth said he wanted Cambodia to discuss the plan with other Asean members first.
He was speaking after Hun Sen raised the matter at the 30th Asean Ministers Meeting on Energy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, last month.
The meeting, themed Asean Green Connectivity, aimed to boost co-operation in the energy sector among the bloc's members and promote the efficient use of energy, green energy and an integrated Asean power grid.
Hun Sen said during the meeting that he was interested in building a nuclear power plant in Koh Kong province to pave the way for economic expansion in the country.
Hongsa Lignite power project proceeds in Laos as planned
Hongsa Lignite power project in Laos is proceeding as planned despite the court case against its major shareholder, with commercial operation scheduled to start in 2015.
Banpu Plc, one of Asean's leading coal companies, was ordered by Thailand's Civil Court last month to pay 33 billion baht to Siva Nganthavee for the latter's opportunity loss over the 1,878-megawatt power plant in Laos.
Banpu holds 40% of Hongsa power plant with equal shares belonging to Ratchaburi Electricity Generation Holding Plc, Thailand's largest independent power producer (IPP), and the rest owned by Lao Holding State Enterprise.
Voravudhi Linananda, managing director of Hongsa Power Co, said yesterday that the court ruling involved only one of the project's shareholders and has had no direct impact on the company.
Hongsa Power is registered in Laos and is beyond the jurisdiction of Thai courts, said Mr Voravudhi.