Energy pushes nuclear policy

by Alena Mae S. Flores – December 07, 2015 at 11:15 pm

from Manila Standard

The Energy Department cited the need for a clear government policy on nuclear power that will guide future action on the mothballed 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos said three public consultations were already conducted on nuclear power by a technical working group from the Energy and Science Departments and National Power Corp.

“The TWG is working on reviews and other related materials including policy direction in Congress to come up with a clear one. Definitely, there would be a lot of public consultation,” he said.

Marcos said among the proposals raised was to conduct a plebiscite because nuclear power is a “a national concern.”

“We want the public to decide. We want a plebiscite, not in 2016, but in the near future. Congress should come up with a policy direction on that. We don’t have a law about nuclear,” he said.

“We’re the only country with a nuclear power plant completed, but not yet operated and we don’t have any policy on nuclear energy,” Marcos said.

Former Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla wanted a nuclear regulatory body to decide whether to revive the mothballed Bataan nuclear facility.

“No one will sell uranium to us if we have no nuclear body. This is a big task,” Petilla said earlier.

President Aquino made an announcement shortly after assuming the presidency in 2010 that he would not revive the operations of BNPP due to safety concerns.

Aquino also shelved any new plan for BNPP, following the Fukishima nuclear power disaster in 2011.

His mother, former president Cory Aquino mothballed the Bataan Nuclear power plant in 1986, also citing safety concerns. The plant is said to be sitting on a fault line.

The ownership and title of the Bataan nuclear property is now in the name of the Republic of the Philippines under the control of the Finance Department.

Napocor, however, continues to perform its mandate of preserving the facility until the government finally decides on what to do with the facility.