For gov’t, nuclear energy now a viable option


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Nuclear energy is back on the government’s list of possible alternatives for power generation in the future, according to the Department of Energy, as it faces stiff opposition from environmentalists and various militant groups.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla stressed that even before he was appointed to his current position, he was already looking at nuclear energy as a possible power source option.

“We’re looking at it on a long-term basis. We’re counting on [nuclear as an option]. At the same time, we have to look at the technical side, and then recommend later on if studies show that it’s good for the country,” Petilla said.

“In the end however, we always have to [consider] social acceptability. One thing I can guarantee, nuclear power will have a level playing field, but we just need to take into account social acceptability,” he added.

Petilla said that it is this social dimension—or the possible non-acceptance of nuclear energy by the public—that is currently limiting the government from including it in its energy mix.

“Nuclear is not in the energy mix today. The major advantage of nuclear power generation is that it’s cheap—you’re talking generation of P2.50 to P3 per kilowatt-hour, compared to today’s generation of P5 a kWh and up. Another advantage of nuclear is that it’s clean, meaning no emissions,” he further explained.

The energy reform agenda, which was formulated during the term of Petilla’s predecessor, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras, stated that the DOE planned to implement a national nuclear power program, and even set 2025 as the target year for the start of operations of the proposed 2,000-megawatt nuclear facility.

The target will clearly be pushed back to a later date as the Philippines has not even started with the program and is awaiting for advances in technology, particularly those that deal with safety.

Last year, the Philippine government was studying the possible conversion of the mothballed 630-megawatt Bataan nuclear power plant (BNPP) into either a coal-fired or natural gas-fed facility.

Based on the initial findings of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)—the agency tasked to look for the technology and fuel type that would best suit the BNPP—a conversion to coal would be more feasible.

The BNPP was built during the Marcos era by Westinghouse Electric at a cost of $2.2 billion. It was mothballed in 1986 due to safety concerns, even before it could begin operations.

The structure is now dilapidated and outdated.

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  • David Phillips

    Nuclear power cannot become a bomb and explode.  It takes over 93% pure Uranium 235 or Plutonium 239 to even try to make a bomb.  To be reliable it takes 97% purity.  

    The explosion in Fukushima came from Hydrogen that accumulated from water H2O reacted with the zirconium cladding for the fuel rods.   This design did not have automatic hydrogen recombiners like the newer designs do. The Hydrogen leaked into the building above the reactor and finally exploded blowing out the walls of the building but essentially doing no other harm.  

  • David Phillips

    Can you tell me what those risks really are?   Japan had 20,000 people killed from water.  Do you know how many were killed by Radiation?   NONE! None of the workers and none of the public.   The radiation around Fukushima today is lower than many areas of the world natural background radiation.  Denver CO and Ramsar Iran both have higher natural levels than the levels found around Fukushima.  

  • ano ikaw

    Whom do you believe–the ignoramous–pretentious–wanbol educated third rate and third world educated  of these so-called engineers or a someone who happens to teach students at some of the world’s best schools on how to be responsible and modest engineers/scientists; let alone who has a doctorate to his belt.

    Does he really need to prove the obvious? Oh yes of course, to the stupidos.

    Nuclear is dangerous.

    A typhoon called Quinta is hitting the Philippines. So where are these so called lousy third rate wanbol engineers? Do they know that at 100km/hr, any nuclear plant cannot withstand the erratic behavior of winds at this rate, just like their roof tops and electric poles around the Southern Philippines. Have they heard that higher than that this rate can cause landslide? Oh by the way, wait for another landfall to prove the point if only to sink this statement into their stupid heads.

    Sure these types of typhoons /or earthquakes can cause contamination to the environment (water and air).

    Simple analogy, yet too hard to understand by these wanbol engineers.

  • Mock

    kung ang RH bill ay killing the growth of population ang Nuclear Plant naman ay killing the population in case of natural disaster (like earthquake) that can damage the nuclear plant.

    • David Phillips

      Walang problem kung may lindol, kasi ang mga Nuclear Plants – automatic shutdown sila.  As soon as the earthquake hits the reactor shuts down in about 1 or 2 seconds.  The earthquake will be much more dangerous than anything a reactor can do.  

  • beerhunters

    And for industries like manufacturing you will need a stable reliable source of energy!!

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