The open letter warned of a possible Fukushima-like catastrophe at the planned plant in Ninh Thuan, only 800 kilometres from Ubon Ratchathani province.

The petition said Vietnam had greater potential for generation of electricity by wind power than Thailand or the other Asean countries, with anannual capacity of 513,360 megawatts.

Asst Prof Chompunoot of Morachat Rajabhat University's Ubon Ratchathani Campus said the group would also petition Asean, encouraging the organisation to force its members to comply with international laws on compensation for people affected by nuclear power plants.

The group would also submit a letter of concern to China, where nuclear power plants were already operating, said Ms Chompunoot.

Thanakhom Rojrangsikul said he and his wife, as descendants of Vietnamese people, were concerned for the dafety of future generations and did not want Hanoi to build the atomic power plants.

"The incident in Japan is a good wake-up call, let us not forget this lesson," said the 56-year-old Thanakhom.

Sodsai Srangsok, of the Ubon Network against Nuclear, said despite the Thai authorities' announcement that they would delay the plan to build nuclear power plants, the network would still work to educate residents in Ubon Ratchathani about the dangers inherent in atomic power plants, in case the next government dusts off the plan and goes ahead with it.

The Bangkok Post - April 26, 2011