• Business group backs nuclear power

     Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands President Jose Luis Yulo Jr. PHOTO BY CARMELA ENRIQUEZ

    Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands President Jose Luis Yulo Jr. PHOTO BY CARMELA ENRIQUEZ

    AMID opposition to the proposed reopening of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), the country’s oldest business group has called on the Duterte government to consider the use of nuclear energy to ensure stable and low-cost power supply.

    Jose Luis Yulo Jr., president of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands, warned on Thursday that unless the government did something drastic, it would soon be at the bottom of the economic ladder of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) and even the rest of Asia.

    “Vietnam is moving very quickly. If we don’t do anything drastic, Vietnam will overtake us. Then Myanmar will overtake us,” Yulo told The Manila Times.

    Yulo said there was no way for the Philippines to compete with its neighboring countries with high electricity rates.

    “How can you industrialize if your electricity is very high? How can you compete?” he asked.

    “The Chamber is supporting the use of nuclear energy for industrialization and for a better quality of life,” he added.

    He noted that neighboring countries like China, South Korea, North Korea and Japan have nuclear plants, while Malaysia and Vietnam are leaning toward the use of nuclear energy.

    “Now they (Malaysia and Vietnam) can have their own. If they have cheap electricity, how can we compete?” he said.

    Yulo said the arguments against the proposed reopening of the BNPP in Bataan were without scientific or technical basis.

    “No one has really gone to a nuclear plant and talked to the people who are running it to find what it is all about,” he said.

    Yulo noted that Slovenia, where he once served as honorary consul, is the one of the “greenest and pro-environment” countries in the world and gets 90 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy.

    “Their plant is a sister clone of the BNPP, exactly the same. They’ve been operating it for 35 years and it was built at the same time as our plant,” he said.

    Aside from Slovenia, other countries with nuclear plants similar to the BNPP are Brazil, North Korea and South Korea, he said.

    Yulo also said 65 new nuclear power plants were being built across the globe, which proves that nuclear energy is a safe and cheap source of electricity.

    “My challenge to the opposition is to prove to me that they are smarter than the other countries building the 65 new plants,” Yulo said.

    Yulo said the Slovenian government has offered to rehabilitate the BNPP at 15 percent of the cost of building a new plant.

    Slovenia is building a plant in Poland together with BNPP contractor Westinghouse, because of the Central European country’s operational expertise in nuclear energy, Yulo said.

    He admitted however that there would be no 100-percent assurance of safety in using nuclear power.

    “It is the same with flying a plane, riding a car. There are safety issues always but it does not mean that we cover ourselves in a cubicle and don’t move,” he said.

    Yulo clarified that he was not pushing for the use of nuclear energy alone. Rather, nuclear energy should be included in a good energy mix as done by industrialized countries, he said.


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    1. The operation of BNPP was disapproved by COry Aquino simply because its Marcos project. She did not want that Marcos achievements would be highly popular among Filipinos with the operation of BNPP. Now is the time to operate the BNPP to ensure low power rates. However expect more oppositions coming from business interest groups such as meralco and MVP group et.al??

    2. It is not a question of being smarter than the 65 but rather the location of the nuclear power plant. How many of the 65 are located in the Circum-Pacific belt of Fire like us? Can you devise a contingency plan to safely, orderly evacuate the perimeter of BNPP? What sort of radius can you come up with? Manila is only 50 aerial kilometers away from BNPP. Within one hour, Habagat would surely envelop all of Metro Manila with nuclear clouds once disaster strikes. You will be asking relief from all your patron saints to no avail. Relief is best remedied with prevention.

      • Correction from Google Earth. Manila is 70kms away from BNPP. Exclusion zones established in Fukushima and Chernobyl were 30km in radius, an area of 2,600 sqkm. Japan and Ukraine are bigger countries and can afford to carve that piece of acreage out of their habitable land mass. Can we? If Meralco’s electricity charges/kwh cannot be pulled down in line with our next door neighbours, a Phil nuclear power plant is better situated along the western coast of extreme northern Luzon.

      • cornelio reformina on

        Taiwan like the Philippines is also in the ring of fire but became developed and industrialized after Japan, then followed by South Korea because one reason was/is cheap energy from its nuclear plants. We need to develop out industrstries to provide jobs to millions of unemployed. With most people with jobs, there will a strong market demand for goods which further encourage more investments and more demand for labor which eventually leads to higher wages. This is labor economics 101. Let us not make decisions based on fear but based on opportunities for our people.