MANILA, Philippines - The government should seriously consider tapping nuclear energy to address the power crisis in the country, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said on Friday.
PCCI President Francis Chua said several neighboring countries in the region, including Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand, have announced plans to build nuclear reactors for electricity generation. He said the Philippines should jump aboard.
"There is no reason therefore why we cannot start a similar discussion and consider similar option," he remarked.
Vietnam plans to have 4 nuclear generation plants in operation by 2025 while Indonesia aims to operate its first nuclear plant some time after 2015. Thailand is also carrying out a feasibility study for a nuclear plant to be built by 2020.
Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico, PCCI vice president in-charge of energy, utilities and telecommunications committees, said the Philippines "is now facing formidable challenges in the energy and power generation sectors, further complicated by a burgeoning population."
He called on the government to create a joint non-partisan, private-public sector committee to address issues in the power sector including price competitiveness, long-term policy, renewable energy options, power security, and the construction of nuclear plants, which "provide clean electricity at predictable and competitive costs."
"Government should seriously look into this proposal of PCCI and consider its prompt creation and mandate," Yujuico said.
The Philippines' only nuclear power plant located in Bataan province cost more than $2 billion and has never been used. Recently, there were calls to reopen the 620-megawatt plant, which will need another $1 billion in funds.