The nuclear option


It’s final: the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) won’t be revived as its technology is “absolutely outdated”, according to Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev.

Khovaev pointed out that prevailing international safty standards are much higher than those in place when the BNPP was built.

The envoy’s recent remarks reflect the findings of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation or Rosatom which conducted an assessment of the BNPP last August to determine if it was fit for commissioning.

Built during the last years of the Marcos regime at the cost of $2 billion, the BNPP is the country’s first and only nuclear power plant. The facility never opened and thus did not produce a single watt of electricity due to issues regarding corruption and safety.

The Department of Energy had contracted Rosatom to look into the possibility of reviving the BNPP in the hope that nuclear energy could be added to its energy mix that now consists of fossil-based fuels as well as renewables, such as geothermal, hydropower, solar, and biomass, among others.

But with the BNPP finally stricken out as a possible energy source, the government apparently has not ruled out the exploring the nuclear option. Russia, for instance, can help in constructing land-based and floating nuclear power plants in the country using new technology.

The DOE signed a memorandum of understanding with Rosatom in 2017 regarding cooperation on various uses of nuclear energy. The Department of Science and Technology also signed an agreement with Rosatom to conduct workshops, train personnel, and exchange scientific information on the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Why should we reject nuclear energy when other countries are harnessing its power for their own economic growth?

p: wjg