Russian, Slovanian firms aid DOE in evaluating nuclear-power plant

By Lenie Lectura – August 30, 2017

from Business Mirror

NUCLEAR-POWER experts from firms in Russia and Slovania are assessing the chances of a possible revival of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

The Department of Energy (DOE) said on Wednesday representatives of the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp., the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex, and Slovania’s Gen Energija, are in the country “to make a preliminary assessment of the possibility and viability of rehabilitating the plant.”

“The DOE Nepio [Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing organization], headed by Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos, together with representatives from the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute [PNRI] and NPC [National Power Corp.], started the kick-off meeting with representatives from Russia’s Rosatom, Slovenia’s Gen Enerjia and internationally known nuclear firm Worley Parsons at the NPC Nuclear Village in Bagac, Bataan, on August 30,” an advisory from the agency stated.

The activity will define the scope of work for the prefeasibility study of the possible rehabilitation of BNPP. According to the agency, the study is being provided by Rosatom for free as part of the cooperation between the Philippines and Russia.

Seven working groups have been established to undertake the study, which would start next month. The conduct of a study will take two months.

The 620-megawatt (MW) BNPP is the country’s first and only attempt at nuclear-power development. It was supposed to be the first of two nuclear plants to be built in the northern province of Bataan. It was also the first nuclear power plant in Southeast Asia, and was identified as a solution to the 1973 oil crisis that had adversely affected the global economy, including the Philippines.

The project, however, was mothballed in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. But clamor for the reopening of the BNPP was revived during the power crisis in the 1990s and the skyrocketing oil prices in 2007.

During these periods, the DOE actually came close to reconsidering nuclear power as a potential energy source for the country.

But then the Fukushima nuclear-plant incident occurred in 2011, creating global panic and concerns about the safety and integrity of nuclear plants.

In March the DOE identified Sulu as among the areas being eyed for a modular nuclear-power plant, with a capacity of 100 MW at most.