Gatchalian cautions gov't vs 'high-risk' nuke deal with Russia

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2019 04:34 AM

MANILA—Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Monday the Philippine government should be cautious in its plan on a possible joint exploration of nuclear energy with Russia.

"Ang posisyon ko ay dapat mag-ingat tayo. Take extra precautionary measures in entering into nuclear power dahil unang una, kulang tayo sa mga batas na magpo-promote ng nuclear power dito sa ating bansa," he said.

Philippine officials signed a memorandum of intent with their Russian counterparts "to jointly explore the prospects of cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants in the Philippines" during President Rodrigo Duterte's working visit in Russia last week.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate energy committee, said the Philippines lacks a comprehensive legal framework on the use of nuclear power.

"Kailangan ng maraming batas. For example, nuclear safety, kailangan rin ng batas kung paanong i-transport itong mga nuclear waste, saan itatago ang nuclear waste," he said.

Gatchalian also said that nuclear energy is high-risk, citing the 2011 nuclear meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The disaster, considered by authorities as the world's most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986, was triggered by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake.

"So ang tanong, may capability ba tayo in an event na merong problemang mangyayari?" he said.

Gatchalian added, "In my opinion we can study nuclear power kung kaya ng ating bansa... But for now, ang importante eh meron tayong mga safeguards saka batas na magre-regulate nitong nuclear power dahil kulang pa tayo talaga."—With a report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News