Petilla favors creation of nuke body

by Lenie Lectura, 20 April 2015
from BusinessMirror

ENERGY Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla is pushing the creation of a nuclear regulatory body that will review the possibility of reviving the mothballed and controversial Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

“I don’t want to decide on it [alone]. We must have a nuclear regulatory body to decide on it because that is a very sensitive issue,” Petilla said.

Among others, the body will address the safety concerns raised by various sectors that are against the
revival of the power facility. “No one will sell uranium to us if we have no nuclear body. This is a big task,” the energy chief said.

The BNPP will require $400 million to $600 million to revive the abandoned facility. “The structures are older,” according to Petilla.

The $2.3-billion nuclear power plant was built between 1976 and 1984 on a 357-hectare government reservation at Napot Point in Morong, Bataan.Talks on the BNPP’s revival started last year when Petilla said the facility, which has potential capacity of 600 megawatts (MW), could help ease the country’s power-supply problems. Petilla, however, stressed then that the Department of Energy (DOE)  was not reviving the BNPP facility.

Korean Electric Power Corp. (Kepco) previously expressed interest to put up a 600-MW coal-fired power plant adjacent to the BNPP. Petilla said he was allowing this on the condition the Kepco’s proposed facility will not be built near the BNPP.

“As long as there is still no decision yet on BNPP, it is okay for Kepco to put up a coal plant. But they have to locate it in an area where it would not adversely affect the BNPP,” Petilla said.

The energy chief earlier said converting the mothballed nuclear facility into a coal-fired power plant was an option “but not to the point that it would kill the viability of the BNPP before it is actually concluded.”

Petilla said the property where the BNPP is located is owned, not by the DOE, but by the Department of Finance.