High time for Philippines to use nuclear power to ensure clean, abundant and affordable energy for the people

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the other economic and geopolitical developments related to it caused oil prices to spike. Here in the Philippines, the latest round of fuel price hikes resulted in diesel averaging around P65 per liter while unleaded gasoline is now past the P70/liter mark. Inevitably, the spike in crude oil prices will lead to a series of increases on food, transportation, delivery services, electricity and more.

Inflation really affects everyone and as far as the Philippines is concerned, the timing is really bad because Metro Manila and other parts of the country under Alert Level 1 status is experiencing a revival of commerce and increased number of people moving around. Along the way, the national average of new COVID-19 cases has been averaging in the hundreds the past several days.

Times like these, major decisions on ensuring abundant, clean and affordable energy for the Philippines are needed. In relation to this, President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed a major executive order (EO) that includes nuclear power for the country’s energy mix, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA report. Some parts in boldface…

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Executive Order (EO) 164 that now includes the potential of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix.

Released on Thursday, EO 164 was signed by the Chief Executive last February 28.

This policy is the start of the national nuclear power program,” said Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. in a press conference.

Under the new policy, it stated that the country “shall ensure the peaceful use of nuclear technology anchored on critical tenets of public safety, national security, energy self-sufficiency, and environmental sustainability”.

Duterte issued the policy following the recommendation of the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC), which conducted a pre-feasibility study and public consultation on the matter.

Through EO 164, the Chief Executive has recognized that nuclear power can be a reliable, cost-competitive, and environment-friendly source of energy based on the experience of highly developed countries.

For the country to achieve its sustained growth targets, it must ensure that it has a reliable, secure, sustainable, quality and affordable electricity supply, including sufficient reserve to guarantee that there will be no disruptions in the power supply,” the policy read.

It added the use of nuclear energy will address the increasing demand for clean energy, rising by 4.4 percent annually, or an additional capacity of 68 gigawatts by 2040.

The EO still included the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in the national nuclear program, but other nuclear power installations will be pursued.

The BNPP was the only nuclear power plant in the region during the 1980s, as the Philippines was one of the first Southeast Asian countries to embark on a nuclear energy program.

However, the project was mothballed because of corruption allegations and safety concerns on the use of nuclear energy.

A study conducted by Russia State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) in 2017 said the rehabilitation of BNPP will require around USD3 billion to USD4 billion.

The public is also becoming more open to the potential of nuclear energy.

“(A) Public Perception Survey on Nuclear Energy in 2019 indicated that almost 79 percent of Filipinos expressed approval or acceptability of the possible use or rehabilitation of an existing nuclear power plant,” the EO said.

The above report ended stating that 65% (of those who took the survey) approved the construction of new nuclear power plants and 78% are open to learning more about nuclear energy.

Of course, there is still this long-lasting fear and paranoia about nuclear power being too dangerous for the Philippines to have. Nuclear-related disasters like the one in Fukushima (2011) and Chernobyl (1986) are still remembered and there are also lots of anti-nuclear activists who continue to make noise.

No matter what those climate change extremists, social justice warriors (SJWs), modern day socialists and anti-nuclear power activists say, nothing changes the fact that nuclear power is the answer to meet nations’ constant demand for energy that is also clear, abundant and cost efficient. Watch and learn from the videos below…

Going back to the executive order Duterte signed, Albay Representative Joey Salceda (who is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee) and presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. support nuclear power gave their respective reactions (click here and here).

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about nuclear power as an added option for the Philippines energy mix? Are you still worried about nuclear power being too dangerous because the people who oppose it scared you? Are you able to tell if the anti-nuclear activists have been spreading lies and misinformation just to manipulate you to oppose nuclear power?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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