Monday, May 14, 2018

Duterte gives his go signal to energy chief for $1-B nuke plant rehab

President Rodrigo Duterte changed his mind  and has given his go signal to proceed with plans to reactivate the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, after initially rejecting the use of nuclear energy in the Philippines under his watch.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi / Photo from Google

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said, however, that the President instructed him to pay special attention to the safety and security aspects of operating the 40-year-old power facility which was completed but never fueled and commissioned.

He raised his concerns, and I gave him the assurance that we would not do it recklessly,” Cusi said.

I reassured him that all of his concerns will be addressed. We are going to follow the strict measures of the International Energy Agency,” the energy chief added.

Cusi said, however, that electricity generation start at a lower level, then later scaled up to full power once a certain level of operating efficiency and expertise is achieved.

However, because most of the officials and personnel who were originally part of the 1970s-era BNPP program have either retired or passed away, the energy chief admitted that the government does not have the technical expertise to rehabilitate or operate the plant.

Bataan Nuclear Power Plant / Photo from Rappler

Our human resources in that sector are gone, so we have to develop that, and those [Filipino nuclear experts] who have moved to other countries will be invited back,” he said.

The deal to revive BNPP will either be a government-to-government effort or something that will be undertaken by a private corporation which will be chosen through a transparent bidding process,” Cusi added. 

It has been known that after the overthrow of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, President Corazon Aquino decided against operating the plant.

Source: Inquirer

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