DESPITE dire warnings of severe energy crisis by 2015, some senators find the idea of reviving the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) unsavory.
Energy Undersecretary Raul Aguilos told members of the Senate Committee on energy in a hearing that the Philippines is expected to be in a critical period by 2015 if the current available capacity will not be reinforced by a committed capacity.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th said restoring the BNPP is not feasible anymore because some of the components of the facility is not available as they had been sold already.
He also raised some safety issue regarding the use of the BNPP noting that the technology used in the power plant was first generation nuclear technology.
Sen. Serge Osmena 3rd, also said the proposal to use the BNPP would not sit well with the public because the Fukushima incident still fresh in the people’s minds.
“Because of the Fukushima incident, nuclear power in the Philippines has become even more socially and politically unacceptable,” Osmena said.
The Senators were reacting to the earlier suggestion of Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito for the government to consider restoring the $2.3-billion BNPP to address the country’s demand for power and avoid future spike on electricity rates.
Ejercito said it is time for the government to seriously and honestly look into the current state of the BNPP and determine if the country could still use it.
The BNPP is one major infrastructure project during the Marcos regime. Marcos decided to build the nuclear plant in response to the 1973 oil crisis that has affected Philippine economy.
The plant was designed to produce 621 megawatts of electricity
According to Ejercito the power plant has withstood several natural calamities that hit the country over the past 29 years, virtually dismissing claims that the plant was substandard and pose danger to the public.
“Pride and politics are the main reasons why the administration doesn’t want to consider the BNPP as a possible source of the country’s energy,” Ejercito said.