President Rodrigo Duterte doused cold water on proposals that the country should turn to nuclear energy to bring down the cost of electricity.
The President said the country may turn to nuclear energy but it will not be during his term of office.
“Wala pa talaga tayo sa [We have not reached the] danger zone that we will die if there’s no energy because it runs the machines,” the President said in a news conference.
“We are not in that danger. But when the going gets tough, maybe someday, not maybe during my presidency,” he added.
Duterte said the use of nuclear power must be studied carefully to avoid accidents.
“Huwag muna ngayon kasi [Not now because] we have to come up with safeguards. Really, really tight safeguards to assure that there will be no disasters if there is a nuclear leak or explosion,” he said.
“It has to be studied carefully by Congress and by the Filipino people. For after all, pag may leak ‘yan, lahat tayo tatamaan diyan [if there’s a leak, all of us will suffer]and it’s our country, remember that,” the President added.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has eyed nuclear energy as one of the options for the Philippines to meet its growing power needs, with annual electricity demand expected to rise by an average five percent until 2030.
Some groups have proposed the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant built in 1976.
The facility was never used.