PH eyes reviving mothballed nuclear plant

5

MANILA: The Philippines may revive a nuclear power plant that was completed 32 years ago but never switched on due to safety fears, the government said Wednesday.

The spokesman for new President Rodrigo Duterte said the government is considering brining the $2.3 billion plant into operation to meet the country’s growing power needs, despite entrenched opposition from activists and environmentalists.

The 620-megawatt plant, built in Bataan province during the notoriously corrupt regime of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has been a subject of controversy for decades.

“(Officials) are considering all options for sustainable and affordable energy, and reviving the Bataan Nuclear Plant is being considered,” spokesman Ernesto Abella said.


He stressed that Duterte and the cabinet would need to approve the use of the plant, located 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Manila.

The plant was built under Marcos to help meet energy needs following the oil price shocks of the 1970s.

But after Marcos was toppled in a military-backed popular revolt in 1986, the government of president Corazon Aquino refused to use it.

Concerns that the plant was built too close to earthquake fault lines and an active volcano as well as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine in 1986 firmed up the government’s decision not to operate the plant.

Despite power shortages and high oil prices, calls to activate the plant were counteracted by events such as Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

However in a speech to an international atomic energy conference in Manila on Tuesday, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said “nuclear technology can be a viable choice”.

Senate president Aquilino Pimentel told the same forum the Philippines was seeking alternatives to fossil fuel.

“Nuclear power offers so much potential,” he said but noted its negative consequences especially in an earthquake-prone country like the Philippines. AFP
AFP/CC

Share.
.
Loading...

Please follow our commenting guidelines.

5 Comments

  1. Juan T. Delacruz on

    Here is the real facts about the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, constructed during Marcos era that suppose to have a power output of 621 Mega Watts. The Philippine Government was able to obtain a loan, amounting to $2.3 Billion Dollars to construct this Nuclear Power Plant. Westinghouse and General Electric are the two prime contractors. At that time, there were neither Oversight Committee nor Audit Committee assigned for this huge project and it was constructed very poorly. The amount spent on this project was too expensive, way too expensive, and the Filipino People were paying $155,000 U.S. Dollars a day just for the interest. There was no typo error here folks! again, $155,000 U.S. Dollars a day. No accountability–NO NOTHING, they would say.

    During Cory Administration, there was an intent or plan to revive the BNPP, so they formed a group of brightest Filipino Nuclear engineers and invited some Korean Engineers as well, because of their experience operating Nuclear Power plants in Korea, to perform technical inspections on BNPP. At that time, the inspectors found over 3,600 defects or discrepancies and it would cost the government about $2.5 Billion Dollars to correct the problems. In the end, the recommendation to the government was not to pursue its intentions because it is too expensive, considering the amount that was already spent during the construction, and the power output will not be in proportion with the amount that will be spent. Another area of concern was that some of the equipment that was installed were old that the manufacturer no longer make them, and we termed this as “Legacy Equipment”.

    Sometime in 2008, I think it was then Sec. Angelo Reyes gathered another group of the best and the brightest Nuclear Engineers to conduct another technical inspection and at this time, they found over 4,000 faults or discrepancies, and they also confirmed that the Bataan Nuclear power Plant was built on top of the major “fault line” and near Mount Pinatubo volcano. There were rumors that Marcos made $800 Million U.S. Dollars kickback on this project alone, that is the reason why Marcos’ heirs are still stinking wealthy, that some of that money have yet to get back to the Central Bank of the Philippines, owned by the Filipino people.

  2. That was paid for by Filipino taxpayers’ money, to the tune of $2.3B not including interest payment, just to remind those opposed to its utilization. Indeed, those who unilaterally imposed the decision to deny the Filipino taxpayers, its owners, its use in effect had robbed them of their property.

  3. China recently built 10 nuclear plants and our neighboring countries are constructing new plants, what is the Philippines waiting for? we have a $ 3 Billion nuclear plant mothballed.

  4. what safety fears? the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was mothballed because it was the project of Marcos. As simple as that. Detractors of Marcos criticized him and alleged that the BNPP was full of corruptions when it was built. but how come nobody was put into jail when the opposition came into power?

    The next president and administration after Marcos, did not run the BNPP because it would look ridiculous that the government would allow its operation when before they came into power, they alleged that the BNPP was built through graft and corruption.

    Do you think that Marcos would be a fool to build that BNPP without considering its safeness?