PH nuclear legal framework ‘insufficient’

By Jordeene Sheex Lagare – May 18, 2018
from The Manila Times

THE Philippines has no sufficient legal framework to tap nuclear energy as a power source, a lawmaker said on Thursday.

“All the gaps in our nuclear-energy legal framework would first need to be addressed by passing comprehensive legislation,” said Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy.

The country is yet to learn from more advanced nations in developing nuclear technology as a national power resource, he added.

Wide-ranging issues need to be explored and threshed out before the country can accurately measure the true potential of such technology, according to him.

If the country decides to add nuclear power to the energy mix, a comprehensive legal framework on using it would need to address several issues.

These are the structure and powers of the regulatory body; licensing, inspection, and enforcement; radiation protection; sources of radiation and radioactive material; and safety of nuclear facilities; emergency preparedness and response; transport of radioactive material; radioactive waste and spent fuel; nuclear liability and coverage; non-proliferation and physical protection; export and import controls; and physical protection.

A strong national framework on nuclear power must adhere to international standards on safety, security, safeguards, and liability, Gatchalian said.

The Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) is currently the country’s only nuclear energy body, whose functions revolve around radiation and nuclear research and development.

Gatchalian made the statement after he joined a study tour earlier this month to learn about the current nuclear technologies of certain European countries.

He was part of the delegation led by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd that included Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos, who heads the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization, and PNRI Director Carlo Arcilla.