Nuclear power? Environmental group urges Duterte gov't to focus on renewable energy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2020 06:21 PM

Nuclear power? Environmental group urges Duterte gov't to focus on renewable energy 1
The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong is surrounded by wide roads and an elevated landscape to reduce the risk of accidents. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - An environmental group urged President Rodrigo Duterte's administration on Wednesday to focus on renewable energy instead of considering the use of nuclear power after the chief executive ordered a study on its inclusion into the Philippines' power generation mix.

Harnessing nuclear energy opens the Philippines to several dangers, non-government organization Greenpeace said, noting that the Philippines should fast track the adoption of renewable energy instead.

"Nuclear energy is the most expensive and most dangerous way to generate electricity, and can take 20 years to construct. It will only lock the country into perpetual dependence on imported fuels and debts, rendering our communities and our environment vulnerable to immense risks that we are ill-equipped to handle," Greenpeace Philippines campaigner Khevin Yu said in a statement.

It also questioned the timing of President Rodrigo Duterte's order as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

Duterte, in a July 24 executive order, directed the government to study the implications of using nuclear energy, which has long been a divisive issue in the country due to safety concerns.

The President also ordered the formation of a Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee, to lead the study on the matter.

The said committee is composed of different government agencies, which Greenpeace criticized for not being inclusive. 

"It lacks representation from civil-society organizations, health institutions, communities and other important stakeholders," Greenpeace said.

"The creation of a national position, especially one that will recommend directions for our future everyday lives, should involve all stakeholders, and not only appointed members of a working committee," it added.

The Philippines in 2017 forged an agreement with the Russian State Atomic Energy Corp. (ROSATOM) for the possible development of nuclear infrastructure.