The Department of Science and Technology lobbies for the revival of the age-old Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
The manufacturing sector, alongside services and agriculture, has been pegged to be one of the pillars of the country’s economy by 2022.
In line with this, newly-minted Philippine Nuclear Research Institute Director Carlo Arcilla said the goal to could be supported by the reestablishment of the long-idle BNPP, which could reduce energy concerns for authorities and personnel in the manufacturing trade.
“We cannot go all out into manufacturing because of high power costs and the cheaper cost and has no emission is through nuclear,” Arcilla told local reporters. “I will definitely push for it. I will just wait for directives but we have to understand that a small amount of nuclear fuel is equal to several tons of coal and the plant will just be powered once every one and a half years.”
Aside from benefits in the manufacturing sector, BNPP has also been eyed to reduce cost of electricity and energy in the country.
BNPP was constructed during dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ regime in 1973 to ease strain on the Philippine economy. Marcos believed that nuclear power could solve the country’s energy demands and decrease in dependence on imported oil.
However, former president Corazon Aquino transferred the nuclear plant’s assets to the government without operating it. The shutdown of the BNPP, which was supposed to replace the ageing electric plants, resulted in frequent brownouts in the late 90s and early 90s.
BNPP concerns have made it to the headline when the Department of Energy hinted that they were assessing the use of nuclear energy to streamline the country’s power supply.
What Filipinos can get from it
1. The BNPP is expected to supply at least 10 percent of the country’s total projected demand.
2. Its operations can tone down the frequent power shortages in the country.
3. Opening of nuclear plants can reduce electricity costs by up to P2 per kWh. At present, the Philippines has the third highest electricity rate in Asia.
What Filipinos would not wish to get from it
1. Filipinos raise safety concerns since BNPP is near four volcanoes and three geological faults.
2. Filipinos also fear events similar to Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, which injured 37. No direct fatalities were recorded, but the death toll of people who died from cancer hit 640.
3. Despite claims that nuclear power plants operate with less carbon dioxide emission, BNPP still pose threat to ecological balance because pre-operations, including mining uranium, milling, plant construction and decommissioning, emit carbon dioxide.