- The nuclear power plant in Bataan was created during the reign of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in order to remedy rising energy prices
- The Department of Energy (DOE) now has plans to revive the mothballed facility with the purpose of answering to the country’s growing power needs
- A government task force studying nuclear power as an alternative source will also be revived to make a ‘well-informed decision’ about the proposal
After four decades of abandonment, there is a chance for the nuclear power plant in Bataan to be revived again.
The Philippines, like its Asian neighbors, plans to include nuclear power in their energy mix which has been mostly composed of imported fuel oil and coal.
(photo credit: pageone.ph)
According to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, bringing back the 620-megawatt power plant will also guarantee a long-term supply of clean and cheap electricity for the country.
The late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos ordered to have the nuclear power plant constructed in order to remedy the rising energy prices in the mid-70s. It took eight years for the facility to be built.
However, it never got to function for its sole purpose since it was proclaimed hazardous since its location sits at a major earthquake fault line and was in proximity to Mount Pinatubo which was considered active during that period.
The $ 2 billion structure was completely deserted during the wake of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
Now that the country has increasing power needs, reviving the mothballed power plant is one of the options that will help to alleviate the problem.
“We have to weigh all our options, with emphasis not just on meeting capacity requirements, but sustainability and environmental obligations as well,” Cusi said during a three-day international conference on nuclear power on Tuesday.
He added that the annual electricity demand is expected to rise by an average of five percent by 2030.
Aside from plans on resuscitating the power plant, the incumbent Energy Secretary will also bring back a government task force established in 2007 to study nuclear power as an alternative energy source.
The task force will be joined by other technical experts, such as those from the International Atomic Energy Agency, so that they can confirm if reviving the forty-year-old structure is a viable option for the country’s energy problem.
Despite these plans, Cusi said that there is no exact timeframe for the study. However, he is expecting that the decision to bring back the power plant will be criticized by the Catholic Church and environmentalists.
“We need to move away from fossil fuels like coal but nuclear energy is not safe and will also harm the people and environment," was the statement of Zaira Patricia Baniaga of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice prior to the conference.
In order to revive the facility, a $ 1 billion investment is needed.
(photo credit: marketmonitor.com.ph)
Do you think that it is wise to recommence the nuclear power plant in Bataan in order to solve an upcoming energy crisis, or is it better to leave it alone to avoid catastrophic meltdowns?
As always, share in the comments what you think!
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