The government can recover its preservation spending for the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) for 30 years in a span of two months, if the facility goes online, said former representative of the 5th District of Pangasinan Mark Cojuangco, a known advocate of BNPP’s revival.
According to National Power Corp. (NAPOCOR) department manager for asset preservation Mauro Marcelo Jr., the national government, prior to placing BNPP in preservation mode in 1986, was spending PHP300 million to maintain the facility.
The preservation cost was reduced to PHP50 million when the fuel was sold.
The budget dropped further during the previous administration, which allocated PHP27 million in maintenance cost, said Marcelo.
“It is a government asset, so we have to protect it. We have a law that we should preserve it and the law still prevails,” he noted.
“If BNPP were to operate on the margins, the PHP50 million is recoverable in one or two days of operation. So, over the last 30 years, that’s recoverable in two months of operation,” Cojuangco pointed out.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is keen on the possibility of reviving the BNPP to ensure sustainable, clean, and cheap source of energy for the country.
As an advocate of re-commissioning the BNPP, Cojuangco filed House Bill 4631 or the BNPP Commissioning Act of 2008 which seeks for a validation process to decide if the government would pursue the revival of the lone power reactor in the country.
Cojuangco also suggested that aside from conducting extensive study on reviving the BNPP, the country can refer to three sister nuclear power facilities of BNPP — Angra 1 in Brazil, Kori 2 in South Korea, and Krško Nuclear Power Plant in Slovenia, which were all constructed by Westinghouse Electric Company — to check if the local plant has retained its standard.
A feasibility study of the Korean Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) noted that BNPP can be rehabilitated for USD1 billion, with only 24 percent of the 6,000 plant systems and equipment needing replacement. The rest require inspection, overhauling, and testing.
NAPOCOR’s Marcelo also mentioned that no major equipment needs to be replaced in the BNPP.
“We conducted sensitivity analysis. If we rehabilitate with USD1 billion for five years and operate it at 20 years, the cost is less than PHP1.50 per kilowatt-hour — that’s generation cost,” said Marcelo, citing that in comparison, coal-fired power plants’ generation cost is at PHP4 to PHP5 per kWh.
Marcelo stressed the efficiency of the nuclear power facility as 20 tons of fuel can generate power for more than 18 months while the life span of a power reactor can reach 80 years compared to coal-fired power plants’ 40 years.
On the issue of the safety of its location, he said that experts had carefully studied the location of BNPP for 11 years.