The Department of Energy (DoE) has always considered nuclear energy as a long-term option for reliable, secure and stable power supply in the country.
Speaking on behalf of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Undersecretary Donato Marcos told a forum on Tuesday that the government was also looking at liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a clean and sustainable energy resource.
Marcos said “nuclear will form part of the 70 percent baseload requirement while natural gas is expected to play a critical role in the 30 percent mid-merit and peaking capacity.”
Including nuclear and natural gas in meeting the demand for energy is consistent with the DoE’s vision of attaining a low carbon future anchored on a technology-neutral policy, Marcos also said.
This will potentially bolster supply reliability and make energy more affordable to consumers, he added.
He said the DoE needed to ensure that energy resources would be able to meet the requirements of an industrialized economy growing at 6 to 8 percent annually.
Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella, meanwhile, said that a national position on nuclear energy could be obtained via a referendum.
The referendum would encompass the nuclear program at large and not a specific project, Fuentebella added.
The Energy department is currently holding public consultations on the issue of using nuclear energy, which the Philippines abandoned following concerns over the safety of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant that was built during the Marcos administration.
The mothballed plant never became operational and several sectors have called for its rehabilitation and reopening.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, called for the creation of an independent regulator in the event that nuclear power is included in the country’s energy mix.
Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate energy committee, said the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) cannot handle oversight since it deals primarily with electricity rates.
In another development, Gatchalian filed a resolution seeking an in-depth probe into the frequent outages in Palawan, expressing his dissatisfaction with a National Electrification Administration (NEA) report on the matter.
Instead of recommending disciplinary measures or levying penalties against the Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco), Gatchalian said the NEA relegated the responsibility to the ERC.