Gatchalian Urges DOE To Build Foundations For A Sound Nuclear Power Agenda


Senator Win Gatchalian urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to focus on meeting the necessary steps in the adoption of a national nuclear energy policy before working on the possible utilization of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

Gatchalian said any discussion on jumpstarting a nuclear policy in the country has to be comprehensively studied and backed by rigorous research while taking into account the different infrastructure issues and how these will fit into the environmental, social, economic, and regulatory bodies to address pertinent issues including radiation protection and nuclear security and safety.

“Instead of wasting time in reviving the obsolete Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, the DOE should just focus on setting up the necessary legislation, regulations, and public acceptance through greater transparency,” the Senate Energy Committee Chairman said.

“It is likewise important to note that the Philippines has yet to ratify the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, and the Amendment to the Convention of Physical Protection of Nuclear Material,” Gatchalian added.

On top of the President’s directives to conduct a feasibility study on the existing legal framework on the viability of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix through Executive Order No. 116, Gatchalian emphasized the need for the Philippines, as a member-state, to comply with the prescribed guidelines and infrastructure gaps identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The senator said before embarking on a nuclear energy program, the Philippines needs to address and satisfy at least 19 infrastructure issues of the IAEA through comprehensive pieces of legislation on regulator, radiation protection, safety of nuclear facilities and decommissioning, energy preparedness and response, processing and transport of radioactive material, radioactive waste and spent fuel, nuclear liability, coverage and safeguard measures, export and import controls, nuclear security, physical protection and illicit trafficking, among others.

Gatchalian echoed the earlier assertions made by Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev on the 43-year-old BNPP as “absolutely outdated” and already beyond revival. Add to this is the fact that the current international safety standards are also much higher than the standards on which the BNPP was built. The BNPP is located near Mt. Natib, a volcano and an active earthquake fault.

He added that refurbishing the BNPP to make it operational may entail some 1 billion dollars, based on estimates. It does not also guarantee a lower price of electricity.

“Hindi totoo na mababa ang presyo. Dahil sa dami ng safety procedures at technology na ilalagay mo, tumataas yung presyo, tulad ng naging karanasan ng Vietnam,” he pointed out.

“Itong BNPP ay more than 40 years old na. Obsolete na. Kaya sa aking pag-aanalisa, mas maganda pang magpatayo ng bagong planta dahil obviously mas marami nang bagong teknolohiya at mga bagong safety procedures na naaangkop sa panahon ngayon,” he concluded.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Rep. Fortun To Senate: Expedite Upgrade Of Anti-Rape Laws

"We need this signed into law already, especially now that we have a pandemic. Studies show there has been a significant spike of rape and sexual abuse cases owing to circumstances contributing to the further vulnerability of children and women."

Rep. Romualdez Launches Clearing Operations In Barangay Malanday, Marikina

Tingog Party List practices the Bayanihan spirit through its cash-for-work program that aims to clear the mud and debris left by the massive floods of Typhoon Ulysses.

Salceda Urges For Fiscal Expansion Amid Drop In Unemployment Rate

“I take it as a signal that as soon as we get the vaccine and return to the previous normal, we will recover to around 5-6% unemployment. I am still alarmed at underemployment, which stands at 14.4%. Much of that is just Filipino inventiveness―online selling, and other new cottage industries. They will not be enough to pay the rent and the bills.”

Bello: Tourism Workers May Avail Of Cash Aid, Employment Programs

The Department of Labor and Employment encourages displaced tourism workers in the formal and informal sectors to avail of the financial assistance and the emergency employment program of the government.

House Panel OKs Bill Recognizing Conserved IPs’ Communities

A measure seeking to recognize the indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples community conserved territories and areas hurdled committee level at the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Galvez: Face-To-Face Classes Resumption In Med Schools Vital

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. says the resumption of the face-to-face classes at the tertiary level particularly in medical schools is important as some courses require “physical experimental learning.”

House Remains Safe After 98 Tested Positive For COVID-19

House Secretary General Mark Llando Mendoza assures that the Batasan Complex remains safe after 98 people tested positive for COVID-19.

House Gives Nod To Bill Imposing Higher Penalties To Wildlife Abuse

The House Committee on Natural Resources has approved a bill that imposes higher penalties to those who will exploit and abuse the wildlife in the country.

Mayor Jerry Officiates Weddings While Social Distancing

The "City of Love" celebrates love while social distancing!

Galvez: PH COVID-19 Vaccine Roadmap, Timeline On Track

"We are still on track considering that there is a possibility that our best-case scenario will be shifted to the first quarter," says Galvez.