Russia offers portable nuke power source for PH: envoy

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2017 05:33 PM | Updated as of May 23 2017 06:47 PM

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte inspects the Russian Guards of Honor before singing the Philippine National Anthem upon his arrival at Vnukovo-2 Airport in Moscow for his official visit to the Russian Federation on May 23, 2016. Joining the President is Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Vladimirovich Morgulov. Presidential photo

Russian-made portable nuclear energy barges or capsules may soon make its way to the Philippines as officials of the Eurasian giant have expressed willingness to sell the technology, a diplomat said Tuesday.

"Russia is a major power in terms of energy, not just on fossil fuels but renewable resources and more modern forms of energy... Russia can provide a whole range of nuclear energy... They were able to develop this commercially," Philippine ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said.

The offer comes amid better ties between Moscow and Manila, and of Duterte's first official visit to the Vladimir Putin-led country. 

Filipino lawmakers and energy players have been considering re-igniting the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Powerplant in a bid to supply more power to the grid, but woes of a possible leak have shelved proposals to make nuclear power plants operational on Philippine soil.

"We don't have to build it. They have options for us," Sorreta said.

Among the options offered by Russia is to lease the portable nuclear energy contraptions to the Philippines.

"If you want it, we'll rent it... We will just buy power from it, put it on a barge off shore, run cables... If we don't like it anymore, they'll pull it out," Sorreta said.

"It's actually quite safe. if you're still afraid of it, you can have the barge far away," he added.

Sorreta said the strategic value of having closer ties between Moscow and Manila "is largely economic." 

"They want to sell energy products to the region. We have not had as deep an exchange with Russia even though we have had 40 years of relations, but that's going to change," he said.