DOE welcomes EO on nuclear power

by Philippine Resources - March 07, 2022

Photo credit: Shuttershock

The Department of Energy (DOE) has welcomed the signing of Executive Order 164, or the inclusion of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix, as this will address the high electricity rate and secure energy for the future.

“We thank the President for seeing merit in the DOE’s recommendation to consider integrating nuclear energy into our country’s energy mix. Since we want a stable, reliable, and sustainable energy resource, I believe that nuclear is the way to go,” DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a statement.

In a press conference Thursday, DOE Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. said nuclear power is cheaper and cleaner than other sources of energy and will help the country in achieving energy security.

Erguiza, chairperson of the DOE Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization (NEPIO), added that the EO provides four cornerstone approaches in developing the Nuclear Energy Program (NEP).

These include establishing a national policy on nuclear energy that could withstand changes in administration; legislative framework by institutionalizing the NEP; alignment with international standards in which the NEP will be formulated under the guidance of the International Atomic Agency; and public awareness and acceptability by conducting strong public consultation and information campaigns promoting scientific findings on the benefits of nuclear energy use.

“Adopting a nuclear program is not just about constructing nuclear power plants. It is a matter of energy and national security. Should it be decided in the future that the Philippines is fit and finally ready to embark on its nuclear energy journey then, we would be able to look back and appreciate this landmark issuance,” Erguiza said.

Drawing away from Bataan plant

Although the EO still includes the potential of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in the NEP, the DOE official said the EO is drawing away from the old but unused power plant.

“We recognized the fact that BNPP was very much polarized,” Erguiza said, adding that the policy has focused on whether or not to include nuclear power in the energy mix and not on the rehabilitation of BNPP which received widespread safety concerns in the past.

The BNPP is designed for two nuclear reactors with a capacity of 650 megawatts each, he said.

Erguiza said the country is in talks with Russia, South Korea, and the United States on the use of small modular reactor (SMR) technology.

Cusi and other DOE officials are set to travel to the US to seal a deal on SMR study.

New technology

Erguiza said the policy will also help the government to pursue new power installations across the country.

There were around 15 locations identified even in the 1980s that are viable for nuclear power– Bataan, Cagayan, Quezon, Puerto Princesa, Negros Occidental, General Santos, Zamboanga del Norte, and Sulu.

Erguiza said the industry has learned from the past accidents globally involving nuclear power plants, such as the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in the US in 1979, the Chernobyl accident in 1986, and the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

He said the new technologies on nuclear power “has almost been perfected” over the years. By Kris Crismundo

 

Articl courtesy of the Philippine News Agency 


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