Duterte to study inclusion of nuclear power in PH energy mix

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 03 2020 03:28 PM

Duterte to study inclusion of nuclear power in PH energy mix 1
The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Bagac is surrounded by wide roads and an elevated landscape to reduce the risk of accidents. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will study the proposed inclusion of nuclear power in the Philippines’ energy mix, his spokesman said Tuesday as the country prepares for increased electricity demand in the coming years.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s proposal on the matter was heard by Duterte during a Cabinet meeting on Monday night, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.

“Oo, pag-aaralan pa niya (Duterte),” Panelo said in a phone call.

(He will still study it.)

Duterte's pronouncements in the past about the issue indicate he is not receptive to the idea.

A proposed executive order crafted by Cusi, who has long been pushing for a nuclear power program, was submitted to Duterte by the Office of the Executive Secretary on Feb. 20.

“It has not been approved yet,” Panelo said.

Panelo said Cusi explained that tapping nuclear can help address the long-term energy demand of the country as “the Philippines is expected to have a rapid growth in electricity demand, in which a 24/7 power is essential and necessary.”

Nuclear energy has long been a divisive issue in the Philippines due to safety alarms.

In 2017, Duterte's government forged an agreement with the Russian State Atomic Energy Corp. (ROSATOM) for the possible development of nuclear infrastructure, personnel training, and courting public support for the technology.

Russia also offered to supply the Philippines with nuclear power barges and capsules.

Should the Philippines decide to use nuclear energy, it may consider rehabilitating the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, constructed during the Marcos administration.