Duterte: Next gov’t should consider using nuclear energy

John Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2022 01:27 AM

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Bagac town is surrounded by wide roads and an elevated landscape to mitigate nuclear accidents. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Bagac town is surrounded by wide roads and an elevated landscape to mitigate nuclear accidents. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday expressed hope that the next administration will explore the possibility of using nuclear energy in the Philippines amid rising oil prices.

Oil prices have surged for more than 10 straight weeks as the Russia-Ukraine war affected the global crude oil supply since late February this year.

"Oil is not infinite, may katapusan 'yan. Someday it will dry up. It will be good for any government to prepare the possibility of making the transition from oil, fossil fuel to nuclear kasi nuclear is forever," Duterte said in a taped public briefing.

However, he echoed the warnings of experts that there are risks of using a nuclear power plant, such as radiation leaks.

Duterte, who will step down from office next month, noted that the Philippines has the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant built during the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr.'s rule. 

The presumptive president and only son of the former dictator, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., has said he was looking into reviving the nuclear power plant.

In a press conference earlier Monday, Marcos Jr. said the country needs to be ready with higher power supply "if we are going to industrialize post-pandemic."

He noted that a power facility needs to have "at least 3 years of lead time" before it can be fully utilized.

Earlier this year, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) Director Carlo Arcilla said the Philippines may start running a nuclear power plant in 5 years if the proposed program will proceed without any obstacle.

South Korea has offered to rehabilitate the Bataan plant for $1.1 billion, Arcilla said.

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