Nuke workshop stresses clean, safe energy

THE mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, the Philippines' only attempt at tapping nuclear energy.

CLEAN and safe energy are among the important considerations in developing the country’s nuclear power capability, officials said during the recent workshop of the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Science & Technology (DOST) and the Russian Federation State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM).

“The nuclear workshop supports the DOE’s aim towards a low-carbon future that is anchored on a technology-neutral policy. It is in line with the DOE’s nine-point agenda espoused by DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi,” DOE Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos said at the workshop on the application and development of nuclear science and technology held at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on December 11.

Director of the DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), Dr. Carlo A. Arcilla, emphasized in his opening statement that nuclear energy safety concerns should not be neglected.”

“In order to promote safety, the comprehensive nuclear law, now in advanced stages in Congress, will guarantee independence of a nuclear regulatory commission separate from the promotion and research thrusts of the PNRI,” said Arcilla.

Arcilla also said that “while nuclear science is often equated with energy and weapon applications, the advantages of nuclear science presents a huge potential in helping the Philippines, in the fields of agriculture and medicine.”

The goal of the workshop is to provide the Philippines the option of adopting nuclear energy.

The workshop is part of the Memorandum of Cooperation between ROSATOM and the DOE signed at the sidelines of the 12th East Asia Summit last 13 November.

The workshop focused on ROSATOM’s integrated solution covering new and emerging nuclear technologies, capacity building, and inputs in the formulation of policies addressing safety, technology development, as well as other uses of nuclear technology.

Specific topics included the knowledge sharing in building, operating and maintaining a nuclear power plant, the significance of Centers of Nuclear Science and Technologies, the introduction of Russia’s Small Modular Reactor (SMR) and VVER-1200 (from evolution, design, safety concerns and licensing), the development of nuclear science for medicine and irradiation, and the enhancement of local industry involvement.

Marcos emphasized in his welcome speech delivered by Director Patrick T. Aquino that “the inclusion of nuclear as a potential long-term option for power generation will further diversify the nation’s generation mix, which currently comprises of coal, natural gas, geothermal, hydropower, oil, wind, biomass and solar.”

The energy official said “this policy direction allows for the entry of alternative energy technologies, such as nuclear.”

DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi in his previous statements encouraged the public to participate in the dialogues and discussions towards decision and a national position on nuclear energy program. He consistently reminds the participants that safety is the top priority.

The seminar was attended by representatives from the DOE, National Power Corporation, DOST, PNRI, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Science and Technology Information Institute, and the technical staff of the Committee on Energy of the House of Representatives. rw: wjg