The Department of Energy (DoE) is determined to put a closure to the issue involving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) after experts from Russia and Slovenia recommended the revival of the mothballed plant.
Korean experts gave the same recommendation.
“I have to find a closure to this project because all of us are paying for the cost of maintaining the 620-megawatt (MW) nuke facility,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a news briefing.
The BNPP, erected in the municipality of Morong, has not been used since it was finished in the 1980s.
The Philippine government spends P50 million a year to maintain the plant.
Late last year, representatives from Russia’s Rosatom, Slovenia’s Gen Enerjia and nuclear firm Worley Parsons assessed the technical condition of the power plant.
Cusi emphasized that the “bigger battle” in concluding the BNPP episode “is the acceptance by the community of the project.”
The Energy chief said the government will respect the people’s pulse on the issue.
“Assuming without saying it that the community does not want to operate the sedentary facility, then I have to look for an alternative because I have to put a closure to this thing,” he added. “Let’s make it useful.”
The alternatives include making the plant a tourist attraction.
Before deciding on the fate of the BNPP, the DoE will finalize a policy that seeks to heighten public awareness on nuclear energy.
In November 2017, the DoE and the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding that provides support to the implementation of the peaceful nuclear program in the Philippines.
“Partners will also explore the possibilities for the construction of land based or floating nuclear power plants equipped with small modular reactors in the Republic of the Philippines,” Rosatom said.
In September, Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos said social acceptance is the biggest hurdle in coming up with a national position on a nuclear power program.
A national position is one of the 19 requirements prescribed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power.