MORONG, Bataan: Senators are divided on the proposal to revive the three-decade-old Bataan Nuclear Power Plant after inspecting the facility on Friday, but they are open to use nuclear power as another source of power for the country.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who heads the Senate committee on energy, noted that aside from the BNPP being too old, there were other issues.
“As of now I’m still not convinced in reviving the plant, because of the issues hounding it including the technical expertise needed to run the plant,” Gatchalian told reporters.
Gatchalian went to the BNPP along with Senators Joseph Victor Ejercito and Nancy Binay to personally see the condition of the more than $2.3-billion power plant constructed during the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
The plant was designed to generate 620 megawatts, or 10 percent of the power requirement of Luzon.
Gatchalian said reviving BNPP would cost the government $1 billion, too big an amount for an old power plant.
Ejercito favored the rehabilitation of BNPP, saying there were technologies and safety precautions that could be put in place.
He said it would take three to four years to rehabilitate the BNPP while constructing a new power nuclear plant could take seven years at a price tag of $6 billion.
“People were made to believe that nuclear power is dangerous because of politics. But if we will open our minds we will see that it is the safest and cheapest, and a stable and clean source of energy,” he said.
Binay said she would like to seek opinions from experts as well as stakeholders.
“Let’s talk about this deeply. Because our neighbors in the Asean region are already building their own [nuclear power plants]. So why are we going to pass up the opportunity of using it as a source of energy?” Binay said.
Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara is also open to supporting the proposal to revive the BNPP as an additional source of energy.
But Angara said he also wanted to hear the views of the experts on the safety and technical issues of nuclear power plants.