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Nuke plant rehab, revival opposed

/ 05:08 AM November 20, 2017

A group of activist scientists said cooperation on nuclear energy between the Philippines and Russia should leave out plans to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), as the mothballed and unused facility posed an environmental and health hazard.

According to the Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Agham), Russia and other countries should instead help the Philippines develop its own technologies to harness the indigenous and renewable energy sources.

Agham pointed out that the country was rich in such resources, including geothermal, wind, and hydropower.

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“While we welcome the knowledge exchange on nuclear energy technology between Russia and the Philippines, we vehemently oppose the studies on the possible rehabilitation of the BNPP,” Agham secretary general Finesa Cosico said in a statement.

The BNPP is “an environmental and health hazard with obsolete technology, perilously placed atop the active Lubao fault and on the slopes of Mt. Natib, a capable volcano,” Cosico said.

Last Monday, Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corp. signed with the Department of Energy a memorandum of cooperation (MOC), which the DOE said “will enable the country to come up with national policies for the development of safe and secure power generation practices through nuclear energy.”

The MOC also covers the conduct of “feasibility studies on construction in the Philippines of small modular nuclear power plants, onshore or offshore, but not limited to analysis of technical, commercial, financial and legal aspects.”

Also covered is the “audit and assessment of the [BNPP’s] technical condition, including the option of its rehabilitation.”

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has earlier indicated his desire to revive the BNPP—which was completed in the early 1980s, but never commissioned due to fears of substandard workmanship, as well as allegations of corruption over its construction—in a bid to diversify the country’s so-called energy mix.

“Since the country doesn’t have uranium resources that can fuel nuclear power plants, we will return to a similar scenario similar to oil and coal energy, where we remain dependent on imported fuel [for the BNPP],” Cosico said.

“Nuclear energy also has direct costs that can be passed on to the people such as nuclear tax, decommissioning costs, and waste disposal costs,” she added. “This can result in higher rates for electricity consumers.”

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TAGS: Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), Business
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