Does the Philippines need nuclear plants? DOE, advocacy group weigh in

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 27 2019 01:59 AM

MANILA—An official of the Department of Energy said that most Filipinos are "apparently favorable" to the country adopting nuclear power. 

This is based on a nationwide perception survey the agency conducted, according to Patrick Aquino, head of the secretariat for the Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization. 

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Aquino said gauging public opinion and getting public approval for a nuclear energy program are part of the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the body's help.

"The misconception again is that when we say that we're going nuclear, full steam ahead," Aquino said in an interview with ANC's "Future Perfect." 

The reality is that the Philippines would need to set up laws and regulations, and address "19 infrastructure issues" before the IAEA can even clear the country to get fuel rods. 

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An advocacy group, meanwhile, said the DOE needs to properly educate the public about the pros and cons of nuclear power. 

"You cannot just go out in the streets and ask them 'Are you in favor of a nuclear power plant?' without, for example, telling them the pros and cons of BNPP [Bataan Nuclear Power Plant], the experience of other countries," said Aaron Pedrosa, board member of the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development.

Pedrosa said that besides safety issues, as seen in the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters, nuclear power has now become even more expensive than renewables and even coal.