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Time for PH to tap nuclear power source
by Philippine Resources - July 28, 2022
Photo credit: IHS Markit
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Tuesday he will fully support the plan of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to explore the country’s potentials on nuclear energy as a cheap and reliable source.
Marcos said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday that if the country wants to attract investors, both local and foreign, energy-level production must be increased.
"Why not? We are one of the few countries that have not looked at the nuclear option in Southeast Asia. The countries that are developing nuclear power in Asia -- Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, even Singapore, are looking at the nuclear option, smaller nuclear power plants, and even Myanmar. We're already left behind," Zubiri said in an interview with a news channel.
Despite being a renewable energy advocate, as evidenced by the Renewable Energy Act which he authored, Zubiri admitted that there are not enough efforts to produce the energy requirement the country needs over the next six years.
"If you want to have an 8-percent GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth rate, we better have an energy sector that is robust, that can deliver the power the different industries need to be able to power other programs and projects," he said.
A nuclear power plant, Zubiri said, might take six years to develop starting from its infancy, but can deliver thousands of megawatts from a single plant.
He said the facility must be built right, strong enough to withstand calamities, and away from earthquake faults.
Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, a known environmentalist, said she is open to exploring the possibility of nuclear energy but it must be considered "clean energy".
"I may not be an expert in nuclear energy. I am open to hearing discussions and consultations with various stakeholders and experts in science on nuclear energy. I have read that nuclear energy is said to be clean. However, what about the nuclear waste? I am interested to know how it will be handled. At the same time, the safety measures," she said.
Senator Francis Tolentino is likewise in favor of nuclear energy, which he learned has zero emission.
"President Marcos’ notion is that nuclear energy will provide greater means of support in uplifting the lives of our countrymen," he said.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, asked the Department of Energy (DOE) to brief legislators on whether nuclear energy must be injected in the country’s energy mix, especially in light of climate change.
“We should request the Department of Energy to brief us, because that is a large sum of money to study the possibility, the risk, and the opportunities, the benefits to consumers and we have not seen the report of that study. To support the scientific-based approach, that study should be scientific and should be in the hands of the legislators because that would be a guiding document for us,” Gatchalian said, referring to the million-peso budget spent for studies.
In his SONA, Marcos said he believes it is time to reexamine the country's strategy toward building nuclear power plants.
He said it should be compliant with the regulations of the International Atomic Agency Regulations for Nuclear Power Plants which has been strengthened after the Fukushima Daiichi incident in Japan in 2011.
Following a major earthquake, a 15-meter tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three reactors.
According to the World Nuclear Association, there have been no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the nuclear accident but over 100,000 people were evacuated as a preventative measure.
Official figures showed 2,313 disaster-related deaths among evacuees, in addition to the about 19,500 that were killed by the earthquake or tsunami. By Wilnard Bacelonia
Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
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Philippine Resources - May 02, 2022
Pursue nuclear energy to avert crisis: solon
Photo credit: The chair of the House Ways and Means Committee on Saturday stressed the need for the country to move towards nuclear energy generation amid "thinning power reserves" as baseload coal power plants continue to experience shutdowns. Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said there is no fuel cleaner than nuclear, which is also a more stable energy source run by a predictable fuel supply. Salceda said President Rodrigo Duterte is on the right path with the issuance of Executive Order 164, which aims to introduce nuclear energy into the country's energy mix, as this will address the high electricity rate and secure energy for the future. "And I can think of the ways we can complement that with good policy,” Salceda told reporters in a Viber message, as he proposed the franchise approach to nuclear energy. "I don’t want government spending money on it, given our fiscal issues. But we can collate a fiscal incentive package under the CREATE (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises) Law for a nuclear power investor. That will probably exceed the USD 1 billion threshold under that law, anyway,” he added. He described coal as the "dinosaur" of energy generation, given that it is cheap, simple, easy, but also outdated. Salceda added that coal power plants are "not exactly in top shape", adding that they are not following the Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP) procedures of the Department of Energy. "Over the past 30 days, half of our baseload plants have experienced shutdowns. When demand peaks, you’re going to get more of that. So, I’m definitely seeing a real possibility of rotating brownouts by May or June,” Salceda said. Salceda presented a “five-point plan” to combat an energy crisis, which included routine maintenance checks of the country’s power plants. He warned that “maintenance issues” could be a way for some generation firms to jack up prices. “Honestly, it’s getting frustrating. Like speaking to a wall. We already anticipated that these things will happen. And now, I’m making a prediction again that will probably take place if we don’t take action. If DOE (Department of Energy) doesn’t take action. Rotating brownouts by summer if we neglect maintenance issues among our baseload plants,” Salceda said. Through EO 164, the Chief Executive has recognized that nuclear power can be a reliable, cost-competitive, and environment-friendly source of energy based on the experience of highly developed countries. “For the country to achieve its sustained growth targets, it must ensure that it has a reliable, secure, sustainable, quality and affordable electricity supply, including sufficient reserve to guarantee that there will be no disruptions in the power supply,” the policy read. It added the use of nuclear energy will address the increasing demand for clean energy, rising by 4.4 percent annually, or an additional capacity of 68 gigawatts by 2040. The EO still included the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in the national nuclear program, but other nuclear power installations will be pursued. House Committee on Energy chair Juan Miguel Arroyo, for his part, said the panel has identified eight priority legislative measures and nine laws to be subject to the legislative oversight function of the committee to ensure adequate and affordable power and fuel in the country while continuing to find ways to further improve the local industry and economy. The priority legislative measures include the creation of the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute; establishing the Regulatory Framework for the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Industry; Electric Vehicle Industry Development; Energy Advocacy Council Office; Use of Microgrid Systems; Waste-to-Energy Technology; Downstream Natural Gas Industry Development; and Strengthening the Energy Regulatory Commission. Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - May 26, 2022
Legal framework needed for gov’t to invest in nuclear power plant
Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. said there is a need to amend the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to enable the government to invest in nuclear power plants. This, as the incoming administration has expressed its support in considering a nuclear power plant to be part of the country’s energy mix. “As of now, the government does not have the ability to put up conventional nuclear power plant because the National Power Corp. does not have mandate on this,” Erguiza said in Filipino during the Laging Handa public briefing Wednesday. With the privatization of the power sector under the EPIRA, the government could not enter into power generation. “But we can align together, with the drafting or putting up of the regulatory framework, we can amend our laws to include the government among those that can fund a nuclear power plant,” he added. Erguiza said that based on studies of the Korean Hydro Nuclear Power Company of South Korea and ROSATOM of Russia, they have found out that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) can still be rehabilitated. According to ROSATOM, an investment of around USD3 billion to USD4 billion is needed to revive the BNPP. Presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. earlier mentioned that part of his energy agenda is to revive the BNPP to become an additional source of clean and cheap power. On the other hand, Erguiza said the government can invest in power generation using small modular reactors, the latest nuclear energy technology, in missionary areas that are not connected to the grid.
Philippine Resources - July 28, 2022
France keen to help PH develop nuclear energy
Photo credit: Embassy of France to the Philippines and Micronesia - French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz The French government is keen to help the Philippines develop its nuclear power program as the Marcos administration looks for other reliable sources of energy. French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz said the embassy has met with some of the Cabinet members and nuclear power was listed among the key areas Paris and Manila could cooperate on. "(T)here's obviously an interest. As I said, we have an experience and expertise in many different sectors of renewable energy, including the nuclear sector," Boccoz said at a reception in Makati City on Tuesday. She said working on small modular reactors is "probably much more realistic" than reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. "I think that this is a thing of the past because the technologies have evolved so much that it wouldn't really make sense to work to build this kind of project and it's probably too big and it probably needs too much of the grid to be operational," she added. "So having a sort of more modular systems is probably much more realistic and also in terms of the terrain here and the systemic risks and others. These are much smaller units that can be much more easily protected." Boccoz, meanwhile, clarified that talks are still in the "very early stages" as Manila has to put in place a framework first. In his first State of the Nation Address on July 25, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sought to re-examine the country's strategy towards building nuclear power plants in the Philippines. "We will comply of course with the International Atomic Energy Agency regulations for nuclear power plants as they have been strengthened after Fukushima. In the area of nuclear power, there have been new technologies developed that allow smaller-scale modular nuclear plants and other derivations thereof," he said. "Once again, PPPs (public-private partnerships) will play a part in support as funding in this period is limited." France generates about 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants but plans to reduce this to 50 percent by 2035 as its shifts to more renewables, such as solar and wind. Besides nuclear, Boccoz said, France is also beginning to have discussions on hydrogen and other renewable energy sources with the new administration. By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
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Philippine Resources - November 27, 2022
FNI posts higher nine-month net income of P2.13 billion
Photo credit: Global Ferronickel Holdings Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. (FNI), a diversified Filipino company with interests in ferronickel ore mining and processing, logistics and port operations, and cement and steel production, recorded a net income of P2.13 billion in the nine-month period that ended September compared to the P1.86 billion it posted during the same period last year. The results are driven by the Group’s flagship mining project in Surigao del Norte operated by Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC). FNI's revenues on the sale of medium-grade nickel increased on the back of favorable forex rates and higher average realized price, while shipment volumes reel from inclement weather and a lower price for low-grade ore. The sale of nickel ore for the nine-month ended September 30, 2022 slides to 3.150 million wet metric tons (WMT), lower by 1.078 million WMT or 25.5%, compared to 4.228 million WMT of nickel ore in the same period last year. The Group only completed 58 nickel ore shipments against 78 shipments during the same period last year due to erratic weather conditions registering 161 rainy days to 137 last year. The resulting sales mix was 78% low-grade ore and 22% medium-grade ore in 2022 versus the previous period’s blend of 81% low-grade ore and 19% medium-grade ore. Shipments consisted of 2.450 million WMT low-grade nickel ore and 0.700 million WMT medium-grade nickel ore compared to 3.424 million WMT low-grade nickel ore and 0.804 WMT medium-grade nickel ore in the same period in 2021. The average realized nickel ore price for the period ended September 30, 2022 is USD28.89/WMT lower by USD1.89/WMT or 6.1% compared to last year’s USD30.78/WMT. Low-grade ore is USD25.49/WMT lower by USD4.30/WMT or 14.4% against last year’s USD29.79/WMT. On the other hand, medium-grade ore stands at USD40.79/WMT higher by USD5.80/WMT or 16.6% versus last year’s USD34.99/WMT. The average realized Peso over USD exchange rate for the Group’s export revenues is P54.87 compared to P49.22 in the same period last year, higher by P5.65 or 11.5%. “Overall outlook for FNI looks reassuring. With the opening of our Palawan mineral project, we expect healthier returns for our stakeholders. Although weather conditions have not been permissive, we have continued to improve our operations and pursue our expansion plans,” said FNI President Dante R. Bravo. FNI recently disclosed its 20% stake in China's Guangdong Century Tsingshan Nickel Industry Co. Ltd (GCTN) to enhance synergies between FNI with its nickel ore mines and GCTN as an ore processor and provide a steady value-adding enterprise for the Group. As a testament to its growth and core policy to strengthen systems and processes, PGMC has received ISO certifications for its Quality Management System (ISO 9001:2015), Occupational Health and Safety Management System (ISO 45001:2018), and Environmental Management System (ISO 14001:2015) as an Integrated Management System (IMS). The certification applies to all activities in the mining operations of nickeliferous laterite ore and other associated minerals from planning to ore production, hauling, loading and port operations.
Philippine Resources - November 27, 2022
DMCI Mining nets P1.2 billion in 9M
Photo Credit: dmcihouse.net DMCI Mining Corporation saw its net income decline by 17 percent from P1.41 billion to P1.17 billion during the first nine months of the year owing to lower nickel ore shipments and average nickel grade sold. “We expected a severe profit decline because of the depletion of our Berong mine late last year. Fortunately, the bullish nickel market allowed us to ship even the low-grade inventory of Berong,” said DMCI Mining president Tulsi Das C. Reyes. “Strong nickel prices and local currency weakness also moderated the impact of lower shipments on our bottom line,” he added. For the third quarter alone, net income tumbled by 56 percent from P181 million to P80 million due to the combined effect of lower shipment (-50%), flattish nickel grade sold (-1%), higher selling prices (+31%) and favorable average foreign exchange rates (+10%). Total shipments declined at a slower pace from January to September as the Berong mine did better than expected in the first half. Consequently, nickel ore shipments only fell by 25 percent from 1.45 million wet metric tons (WMT) to 1.09 million WMT. Despite a 4-percent decrease in average nickel grade sold from 1.38% to 1.33%, DMCI Mining posted a 16- percent improvement in nine-month average selling price from US$43 to US$50. Magnifying the impact of higher selling prices was a 10-percent increase in foreign exchange rates from US$ 1:Php 49 to US$ 1:Php 53. At the end of September, total inventory plummeted by 76 percent from 450,000 WMT to 109,000 WMT, mostly (81%) coming from Zambales. Article courtesy of the Philippine Stock Exchange
Philippine Resources - November 27, 2022
E-vehicle boom opens new opportunities for PH mining
Developing the electric vehicle (EV) industry is opening new opportunities for the Philippine mining sector, a company executive said Wednesday. In a media roundtable, DMCI Mining president Tulsi Das Reyes said the e-vehicle sector has provided new opportunities for the mining industry and his company is keen to take part in this development. He described that mining became a "sunset business" before the growth of the e-vehicle industry. "Prior to the EV boom, stainless steel was going nuts, and they don't have capacity already for the stainless steel market. And China is the only growth for stainless steel, all other countries in the world (are) slowing down," Reyes said. He said the growing demand for e-vehicles globally has offered a "fresh light" for the mining business. Nickel is a component for e-vehicle batteries. "Without EVs (e-vehicles), we would (have) ended so many other niche market(s). So it was a huge impact," Reyes added. In the recent foreign business missions of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the United States, South Korea and Japan, companies from these countries expressed their interest in the Philippine e-vehicle industry, including manufacturing batteries for electric cars. Part of the DTI's Make It Happen in the Philippines campaign is to attract investments for integrated mineral processing to have value-added activities in the mining industry instead of exporting minerals as raw materials. Reyes said DMCI Mining is in talks with possible foreign partners to explore opportunities for integrated mineral processing here, including Indonesian and Chinese partners, but this will require adequate infrastructure in place and support from the government. Meanwhile, DMCI Mining net income in January to September this year declined by 17 percent to PHP1.17 billion from PHP1.41 billion in the same period last year. The lower profit for the first nine months of 2022 was mainly due to decline in shipment. "Strong nickel prices and local currency weakness also moderated the impact of lower shipments on our bottom line," Reyes said. Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
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