MORONG, Bataan: n inter-agency core group was reconvened on Friday to explore the possibility of reopening the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos said the core group was reorganized to conduct consultations to get the position and views of all stakeholders on the issue.
“We are in the process of getting and collating those preparations and documents so that we would know the direction of the country’s nuclear energy policy,” he told reporters.
The core group was formed in 2009 and is composed of the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) and the National Power Corp. (NPC).
Ma. Gladys Sta. Rita, NPC president, said the core group will prepare the groundwork that could be used by the next administration in crafting the country’s nuclear energy policy.
“Nuclear energy is part of the energy development plan of the county. In fact, the DOE never abandoned nuclear energy as a source of power,” she said.
Sta. Rita said all issues hounding the BNPP’s reopening should be clarified, as directed by the House Energy Committee.
Marcos explained that the reopening of the BNPP is being pushed to bring down power costs and provide additional supply to the Luzon grid.
Based on consultations made with various communities in Bataan, Marcos said the people are really divided on whether to reopen the nuclear power plant.
“During the consultative fora, we have seen the emotions of the residents. The people are really divided on the issue,” he added.
To address the problem, Marcos suggested bringing the issue to a national plebiscite.
“The issue is of national interest so we really need to get the consensus of the people because through this, we could prevent legal actions before the Supreme Court,” he added.
Former Congressman Mark Cojuangco echoed Marcos’ views, saying that a referendum should be conducted in order to take the pulse of the people about nuclear energy.
But before a referendum can be conducted, Cojuangco said the government, through the
DOE, should first educate the people on the importance and advantages of nuclear power as an affordable, reliable, clean and safe source of energy.
He believes that possible opposition to the reopening of BNPP is the result of long years of misinformation and deception and of failure to present scientific truth about the BNPP and its benefits.
“It is time that we present hard facts and solid economic numbers when discussing the BNPP with our people,” he said.