The Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands (CCPI), the country’s oldest business organization, has urged the government to immediately adopt nuclear power as an alternative energy source and to operate the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
“After 32 years from the BNPP construction, CCPI hopes that with the leadership and political will of the present dispensation, the policy recommendation that the chamber also presented will find implementation under President Rodrigo Duterte,” CCPI said in a statement.
CCPI cited a three-point agenda in developing nuclear power: To create jobs and alleviate poverty; affordable electricity; and safety.
According to the chamber, nuclear energy is the cheapest source of electricity: 79 percent cheaper than oil, 78 percent cheaper than gas, and 23 percent cheaper than coal.
The Philippines has the highest electricity costs in Asia, which has impaired business and industry to set-up and operate competitively, CCPI said. It also has the highest unemployment rate in Asean, needing jobs created by business activities in manufacturing, services and all other sectors of the economy that need to be cost efficient, it added.
On the issues of safety, the chamber said that 31 countries operate nuclear power plants, from developed to developing countries, from the Americas, Europe and Asia. France generates 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy.
The United States has 99 nuclear power plants and China has the fastest-growing nuclear power program with 28 new reactors under construction.
“Sixty-five (65) nuclear power plants are currently under construction. On top of their existing reactors, nuclear power plants are being constructed in Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Finland, Russia and South Korea. Egypt has joined the league of countries using nuclear power as a source of energy with two reactors under construction,” the chamber said.
“Vietnam is presently constructing two plants, while other countries in East and South Asia are looking into nuclear plants as an additional source of energy. In Asean, the Philippines, from being number one, is now number five in per capita income. Without nuclear power, Vietnam and other Asian/Asean countries will overtake us,” CCPI added.
Last month, however, Vietnam cancelled the construction of the two plants, one being built by Russia and the other by Japan, citing ballooning costs of the projects, the lower cost of developing conventional power plants, and the downward adjustment of the country’s electricity demand projections.
For BNPP, it has sister-clone plants operating safely in Korea, Slovenia and Brazil for over 30 years. Therefore, they are actual examples of the safety of the BNPP. The Bataan site was chosen after extensive research and is on high ground that cannot be reached by tsunami, the chamber said.
The mothballed BNPP can add over 600 megawatts of electric power to the Philippines grid when made operational, CCPI pointed out.
According to CCPI, in the span of 12,000 cumulative reactor years of commercial operation in 32 years, the only major accidents that took place were in Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima. No one died, or was injured at Three Mile or at Fukushima, the report said.
“It is noted that while people have died in auto and airplane accidents, the world did not ban the automobile nor the airplane —instead the world made them safer,” the chamber added.
“For all of the above reasons, the chamber supports the operation of the nuclear power plant in Bataan to accelerate the economic progress of the country through industrialization,” CCPI concluded.