Greenpeace slams DOE chief’s plan to revive nuclear power program

A+
A
A-

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla

MANILA, Philippines — The environmentalist organization Greenpeace has asked Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla to abandon his department’s plans to revive the use of nuclear energy in the Philippines.

The group said it was shocked at the Department of Energy’s recent proposal to revive the use of nuclear energy to power the country as “this plan goes against global trends as far as safety is concerned.”

“Worldwide, the nuclear industry is declining having failed to establish itself as a clean, cheap, safe or reliable energy source. The DOE’s new proposal to implement a national nuclear power program in the energy reform agenda is utter madness,” said Anna Abad, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

“Nuclear energy cannot be good for the country as Secretary Petilla claims, because nuclear power is neither safe nor clean. No amount of technological sophistication or safety culture can prepare any country or its people to the inherent dangers of nuclear energy,” she said in a statement.

President Benigno Aquino III has publicly declared that he is against the revival of the controversial Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. Petilla, however, said his department was already looking into nuclear projects to attract local and foreign investors.

No nuclear proposals are currently tabled in Congress, although the Philippine Energy Plan still contains provisions for nuclear energy.  The Energy Reform Agenda directs the DOE to conduct research and studies in aid of legislative and executive action for the operation of a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant by 2025.

“It may seem a cheaper alternative, but nuclear energy pays a human price. Just look at what happened in Ukraine, and very recently in Japan. Has Secretary Petilla completely forgotten about the Fukushima tragedy, the world’s worst human-made disaster to date?” Abad said.

“His short sighted plan to put profit above people’s safety could put millions at risk. If a nuclear disaster cannot be prevented from happening in rich, technologically advanced nations like Japan, then what might happen in our county?” she added.

The Aquino administration, according to Greenpeace, has wasted several years pushing for dirty sources of energy such as coal and nuclear.

“The government must ensure sustainable development with a future powered by clean and safe renewable energy, rather than dangerous nuclear, or dirty coal power,” it said.

Greenpeace is advocating an “energy revolution,” which it describes as a “sustainable pathway for renewable energy, coupled with energy efficiency technologies, to become country’s energy backbone.”

The group is also calling on the Philippine government to commit to fully implement the Renewable Energy Law to achieve 50 percent renewable energy in the country’s energy mix by 2020.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UQXLAHQCCIEO3WMCTNZSWIE3AI Lagotka

    It is very obvious that Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla has not done his homework on nuclear power. Other countries are moving away from nuclear power and heading towards clean renewable energies for several reasons – clean, economical, and will provide new jobs.

    Mr. Petilla the disposal of nuclear waste has not yet been resolved! Where do you plan to dispose your nuclear waste. Please study the Japan model. Up to now the Japanese has not found a solution to dispose of the radioactive debris. Just Goggle it or go to the Japanese consulate.

    A nuclear power plant is big money, hence, big commission! I hope this is not your primary objective!

    Please look at the solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal options before jumping into nuclear power!

    • yaonglaan

      kung ang Japan nga di nila kayang tanggalin ang kanilang reactor at dadagdagan pa nila kahit sa nangyari sa fukushima e di porke may keyboard ka at natuto kang mag type e marunong ka na magkaiba ang dunong sa talino 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/UQXLAHQCCIEO3WMCTNZSWIE3AI Lagotka

        Boss, nakatira ako sa Japan! I know what I’m talking about!

    • obleman

      So you’re saying that nuclear power is expensive, yes its true; but you fail to realize that solar, wind, hydro, geothermal power is MORE expensive (as of today’s technology).
      Solar, wind, hydro power is not even reasonable with developing countries like the Philippines. In fact even first world countries can’t even replace their nuke power with the said alternative energy because of its unaffordability.

      • frudo

        uu nga mahal ang solar wind ang hydro pero wala ka nman kaba or takot, hindi kagaya sa nuclear plant pag yun naitayo sa malapit sa tnitirahan mo ewan ko lang bka lumipat ka na,  bakit ang norway renewable energy lang sila pero nakakapag benta pa sila ng kuryente sa germany,

      • obleman

        The point is those said renewable source of energy is expensive, the Philippines can’t even afford it in a sense na well, kaya naman natin makabili BUT it is not EFFICIENT. Yung power output niya e katititing. E’ yung Pilipinas kailangan ng madaming power due to we are a DEVELOPING country. We’re just starting to industrialize palang, unlike those European countries na they use CHINA (they also use nuclear) to manufacture.

      • frudo

        Lam mo ang pinas bagyuhin lindulin kaya hindi safe nga para magkarron ng nuke plant over papulated pa ang Pinas kaya pag nagkaroon ng kalamidad like lindol bagyo paano mo iivacuate ang mga tao at sino mananagot kung magka problms nuke ilaw ba papayag ka ba sasagot nyo lang nman sorry at sisihin ang kalamidad

      • obleman

        Ano ba pagkaintindi mo ng nuke power? Parang WW2 ba? Kung ganyan ang inyong pananaw sa nasabing konsepto e di nakapagtataka walang kwenta ang iyong argumento.

      • frudo

        nuclear plant na makakapag produce ng koryente lam ko sinasabi ko,  sagana tayo sa tubig hangin at solar yun nlang sana ang idevelope natin para safe,  pag dating ksi sa maintenance dun mahina ang Pinas nakakalungkot pero totoo nman, senxa ka na hindi ako kasing talino mo kaya di kasing kwenta ang sinasabi ko sa sinasabi mo pero at least pinapatulan mo ko, Happy new year!!!!

  • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

    Without regard to the Greenpeace bias, if I am the DOE secretary would research how many existing Nuclear Reactors producing Electricity there ever were, and find out the percentage of disasters to that of the population.

    This way I would have proof whether it really is dangerous, or not.  Then comes more intensive research like, were the disasters human error, design flaws, or etc.  As well as other mitigating factors involving risk and benefits.

    You see, we must eliminate FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) in anything we decide. Greenpeace has its agenda, we have ours. We may see their point, but that is not the only reason out there.

    Air travel IS still one of the safest form of travel(wiki: 2 deaths per 2,000,000,000 person-miles), and yet, it has its share of disasters, and magnified by news sensationalism. Do we scrap air travel altogether simply because people die in air plain disasters?

    We have one of the most expensive electricity rate in Asia, even more than an industrialized country like Japan. We have to address it, but we have to be reasonable, when we find solutions.
     

    • Carlos_Iho

      Unlike transportation accidents, nuclear accidents are difficult to contain and do not end with a single event.  How can you eliminate “FUD” when you are not able to foresee every possible accident and even for those you foresee, you do not have effective solutions to?

      Nuclear accidents are catastrophic and not just disastrous.  Not totally against nuclear power generation, however, since the risk levels are so high and the technology to resolve the waste issues and control catastrophic accidents are limited, we cannot opt to have nuclear power at this time. 

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        “Unlike transportation accidents, nuclear accidents are difficult to contain and do not end with a single event.”

        So they say too when they decided to dabble into air travel. In fact they too were so terrified when the Hindenburg disaster took place. When the fear of flying overtook the people’s reason that life goes on as it usually does. Even Oppenheimer too was in doubt whether the chaotic chain reaction would finally end when they first tried to weaponize the power of the atom.

        ‘How can you eliminate “FUD”‘
        You can never eliminate Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. But you have to move forward, study and control your own.

        “Not totally against nuclear power generation, however, since the risk levels are so high and the technology to resolve the waste issues and control catastrophic accidents are limited, we cannot opt to have nuclear power at this time.”
        I beg to differ.
        I think the time now is to study the viability of an alternative solution. We have let it gone too long without a solution, and so, we ARE continuously suffering from the effects of our own disregard.

      • castertroy2010

        kung pinayagan ang bataan nuc power plant eh d bayad n sana tyo sa ating utang at d p mahal ang per kilo watt ng ating kuryente.may disaster b dun s kinatatayuan bataan nuc powerplant sa nkraang mahit 20 taon wala diba.eh d sana npkinabangan ntin

      • Carlos_Iho

        Tama, swerte sana natin…walang nangyari sa BNPP.  Pero, gusto mo bang makipagsalaparan o manigurado?  Sa susunod na 20 na taon, sigurado ka bang walang mangyayari? 

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        ummmmmm.

        i dunno about bayad na sa utang.

        pero what happened was that without planned solution for the impending increase in demand of energy, and the government then not ready with any alternative, we had to bite the bullet and make use of more expensive sources of electricity.

        And so, we now pay more.

        Simply, without the planned solution (BNPP) we were forced pay more to address the need when the rolling brownouts were already there.

      • Carlos_Iho

        A plane crash is a single limited disaster while a nuclear accident is not. Technology is there to make air travel relatively the safest mode of transport but still, air disasters happen.  However, these are contained.

        With nuclear accidents, it is not the same and when accidents happen, it is always catastrophic and poses a continuing threat.  Fear will always be there and you cannot ignore the uncertainty and doubt since you do cannot have effective control over a nuclear accident.

        And to “study the viability of an alternative solution” to what?  At this stage, we cannot simply ponder on principles but look at facts.  If nuclear technology is safe, why is Japan shutting down their nuclear power plants?

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        why is Japan shutting down their nuclear power plants?

        because they were old technology and have to update, such as fukushima. And they were safe to a certain level of natural disaster. The recent disaster that happened was beyond that.

        it is perfectly acceptable to update something to make things up to date.

        “And to “study the viability of an alternative solution” to what?”

        To Nuclear energy as well as other alternative forms of energy, including renewable ones.

        I thought you had an open mind? I was stating that more intensive study need to be made before committing into anything.

        “With nuclear accidents, it is not the same and when accidents happen, it is always catastrophic and poses a continuing threat. Fear will always be there and you cannot ignore the uncertainty and doubt since you do cannot have effective control over a nuclear accident.”

        That is what they said when the airlines were starting to boom. That they would fall out of the sky, that they would hit a densely populated area, that they would kill more people than the bombing of London during WWII.

        That is a possibility I am willing to look into. just saying.

    • frudo

      at kahit magkaroon pa ng nuclear plant di parin magiging mura ang kuryente natin, may fud na nga mahal parin ang koryente, sa mga pabor sa nuclear plant sige sana itayo ang planta malapit sa tinitirahan nyo?

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        “at kahit magkaroon pa ng nuclear plant di parin magiging mura ang kuryente natin, may fud na nga mahal parin ang koryente, sa mga pabor sa nuclear plant sige sana itayo ang planta malapit sa tinitirahan nyo?”

        prove your point.

        sa gitna ng metro manila?

        I call. let it be near.

      • frudo

        Kaw na lang tumira sa metro manila tambak na nga basura dun dadagdagan mo pa ng nuclear waste. Tandaan mo to di magiging mura ang koryente khit my nuclear plant pa

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        Di bababa?? Prove your point.

      • frudo

        hindi bababa kasi foriegn investor ang magtatayo dahil wala nman pondo or technology ang Pinas para magkapagpatayo ng nuclear power plant. at dahil foriegner ang naginvest syempre need nila bumawi or kumita, at dun yun kukunin sa ating mga consumer kaya mahal parin ang koryente natin, 

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        Yes, and No.

        Your normal process works. But do consider we already have the highest electricity rates in Asia. Why create a new source IF it will be more expensive than fossil fuel sources we already have. By that logic, if Nuclear is more expensive, why pay for it.

        2nd reason. By the same logic that since it will be foreign investors, then so goes with new ‘renewable’ sources, since it will be foreign investors funding for it.

        Simply, the feasibility study will tell if it is worth it, or not. And since we already are paying so much, much more than our other regional counterparts (for fossil fuel), how much much more expensive can nuclear energy be?

      • obleman

        Sige magtayo tayo ng SOLAR, WIND, HYDRO powerplant na gusto niyo, baka magulat ka kung ano ang magiging presyo ng kuryente mo.

        Tandaan, in building power plants hindi lang kung magkano ang tinitignan kundi ang kapasidad nitong mag-generate ng kuryente. Nuclear power can generate alot of electricity unlike the up and coming green energy. Maybe 20 years pa bago mapaunlad ang teknolohiya na gusto niyo. And as a developing country, we cannot waste time to wait or build inefficient source of power. If that happens, we will not sustain our economic growth. Tignan natin ang kasaysayan dahil nangyari na ito. In the late 1980s, hindi pinayagan ng president Aquino na buksan ang Bataan Nuclear powerplant. E’ ayon tuloy, ika nga ni Marcos: in 20 years bagsak na ang Pilipinas.

        Bumagsak nga ang Pilipinas at BABANGON tayo.. Ngunit paano tayo babangon kung hindi tayo natututo sa ating kasaysayan?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4R3GZTGML26TV2VGS6RVHP2THM Fred

    Greenpeace, you are against the revival of nuclear power program. Do you have an alternate specific program?

    You are advocating energy revolution, sustainable pathway for renewable energy, energy efficiency technologies. These are all motherhood statements!

    Greenpeace, do you have an alternate specific program if you are against the revival of nuclear power program?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HURHTRIVVZLV2NZWFGQHNDGPKY isaac

    filipino become poor for paying this white elephant (bataan nuclear power plant) for nothing, because of scary tactics done by you (greenpeace). it is about time that you people drop this scary mentality towards filipino people. We hope that this present government will not surrender their ideas of giving the filipino people a safe and clean sources of energy. And to give this so called greenpeace a great finger salute.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Klein-Mo/1764894963 Klein Mo

      Agree!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M6UL2UG4OGTMCLSYGB5MVJ7USE InSearchOfTruth

      greenpeace, just like certain religious sectors can only meddle with countries such as the philippines.  they cannot do that to countries such as US or Japan or China.  i wonder why…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Abdul-Rashid/100004367910013 Abdul Rashid

    Ano kaya ang nasa isip ng DOE? Ang malaking budget siguro ang napagisipan. While the world is turning into green clean energy our DOE will be playing with radioactive tendencies.
    I advise the secretary to resign? Kung wala siyang consensya pumunta nalang siya sa Fuckusima at bag patiwakal doon, wag na san dito sa Pinas.
    Sana malaman din ninyo paano makinig sa mga tao? Marami pang Piliino na pude maki alan sa mga ganitong bagay.
    First ibinigay lag ninyo sa favored corporations ang supply ng energy, tulad ng ABOITIZ, second ang inyong ginawang forum ay hindi naman all sectors. Para sana pakinggan ninyo what is rational. You must put your greed aside because when it comes to projects and atomic as such naku. Mahalag doon ang corruption money. Don’t tell me you are with matuwid na daan? 

  • joe__bloggs

    I wanted to share a previous posting by Don Lesko about the true cost of nuclear energy. Hope he does not mind me republishing his comment 
    on a similar topic:

    Don LeskoCollapseThe upfront costs of nuclear appear to be inexpensive, it’s all of the “extra” costs that push nuclear into a much higher cost category. No nuclear site has ever been on time, or on budget. If the government tells you it will take 10 years and a billion dollars, expect it to be 15 years and 2 billion dollars. These cost over runs and budget delays are NOT factored into the advertised costs of nuclear energy.Ontario Canada is looking at how to store it’s nuclear waste. The current plan calls for burying it deep in the ground (currently it’s stored on the reactor sites). Expected cost to build the underground storage area, $13 billion US dollars. Yet this number is NOT factored into the final kWh cost of electricity.The UK is currently looking at the costs of decommissioning 21 nuclear reactors. The real costs are impossible to estimate, but they still expect the final total to be somewhere around $113 billion dollars US. Again, this cost is NOT figured into the cost of electricity from nuclear.The costs of insuring a nuclear reactor are so high that most areas operate without it. So high in fact that Ontario Canada doesn’t have insurance, it has an “emergency fund” of $75 million dollars. How far will $75 million go in the case of an accident? Should the unthinkable happen, and there is a melt down of the core, costs are impossible to predict. Estimated costs of “containing” the Chernobyl site are over $100 billion, and growing.When you stop and look at the TOTAL life cycle costs of operating a nuclear energy plant, alternatives start to look cheaper all the time.LikeReply

  • http://twitter.com/alfs_alfs Pons Corpuz

    The problem with Greenpeace is that they are quick to criticize but they failed to give a CHEAP alternative. 

    They are quick to cite the accidents in Japan and Ukraine  but blind to recognize the benefit of nuclear power in majority of nuclear-power-using-countries in the world. 

    • frudo

      problema na nga natin ang basura  eh sa tingin mo kaya hindi rin natin magiging problema ang nuclear plant waste? san natin yun itatapon sa dagat na nman gaya ng ginawa ng russia na ang nuclear waste nila tinapon nila sa dagat.

      • http://twitter.com/alfs_alfs Pons Corpuz

         Its funny that you raise a question, then in your second sentence you answer your own question.

      • frudo

        Ibig ko sabihin maaring baka sa dagat itapon ang nuclear waste kasi nga wla nman tyo mapagtatapunan nun kasi nga basura pa nga lang problema na eh. Sensya na sa post kung nakakalito

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DLCFEYJL7T6TJTSQKDXJXNAFDM Idiosyncratic Society

    Kung ang Japan nga na mas advanced yung technology hnd naanticipate ang ganun kalaking pinsala, paano pa kaya ang Pilipinas? 

    Parang ganito lang yan:  maglalaan ng malaking pondo para sa proyekto, uutang sa IMF (tulad ng nangyari sa BNPP), marerealize nila na nasa Pacific Ring of Fire pala tayo at ang proyekto ay hnd pa rin pala ganun katanggap ng mga tao kaya ititigil at magiging isa na namang White Elephant!!

  • Ommm

    In a country that cannot be convinced to not burn trash in backyards or throw it in waterways…the concept of nuclear power is absolutely frightening.

    This country is blessed with lots of sun and surrounded by seas. Solar and tidal power , plus wind-farms are now a reality  that can easily provide a viable dependable power source.

  • obleman

    Solar, tidal, wind power power is not yet efficient (I’m pertaining to the cost of construction of the technology and the their output). Mahal na nga ang kuryente sa atin, pamamahalin pa ng mga solar, tidal, hydro, etc plants. The thing is that we need nuclear energy for the meantime, especially that our country is developing, and switch to the alternative if those said power sources are affordable. 

    • Islaslolo

      Who said nuclear power is cheap or affordable?

      • obleman

        I stand to be corrected, Yep it is not affordable BUT it is efficient (Cost of construction and the power output). Efficiency ang kailangan especially with developing and Newly industrialized countries like us.

    • frudo

      ok sige pero san bagong  location ng nuclear plant itatayo  mas maganda siguro dyan  sa lugar mo ok ba yun payag ka ba?

      • obleman

        If matuloy man ito, who said that itatayo itong nuclear sa EDSA? What I mean is hindi siya itatayo malapit sa Maynila.
        Ang hirap kasi sa Pilipino, tinitirahan ang mga lugar na hindi naman dapat tirahan. Kung gusto may paraan… Maaring itayo ito sa lugar na maayos, secure, safe at malayo sa tao.

      • frudo

        Nananaginip ka ba eh puno na nga Pinas ng tao eh kaya wlang lugar sa pinas na malayo sa tao. kung safe yan bakit Ayaw mo itayo to malapit sa lugar mo

      • obleman

        Walang kakwentakwenta ang iyong pinagsasabi, puro ka itayo sa tapat ng bahay ko. Kung gusto may paraan, kung ayaw e may dahilan. Sa tingin mo, itinayo nalang ang Bataan powerplant ng WALANG plano. Siyempre inanticipate nila ang maaring mangyari, PINAGARALAN. Sa kaso ng Fukushima , bago pa ang malagim na meltdown , binatikos na ito dahil sa hindi gaanong safe ito. Problema kasi sainyo, tinitignan niyo lang ang one side nito, ang sumabog ito.

        E’ mas mamatay pa nga tayo sa USOK ng jeepney, bus, conventional powerplant, pagyoyosi e kaysa sa ratio ng isang meltdown ng nuclear reactor.

      • frudo

        anong walang kwenta ay yung sinasabi mo ba may kwenta? kung pabor ka jan eh di pabor ka pero yung mga di pabor sana respeto mo rin opinion nila,  basta ang problema sa nuclear plant hindi ito safe lalo na sa bansa natin, at yung nuclear waste problema parin, san mo yun itatapon? 

  • rolandtr

    Has Greenpeace heard of Thorium? You can even hold it in your hand and not be affected by radiation yet it is now the new fuel for nuclear plants…Open your mind and many things can happen…There is a future for a thorium nuclear plant in the Philippines. India is the leading country for this kind of nuclear power.

    • Islaslolo

      Another pipe dream of India. Let’s stick to renewables.

      • rolandtr

        Pipe dream? Read and be informed. There are so many countries with on stream thorium nuclear fuel program. India has the most deposits of thorium that is why they are the leader. Renewables, outside of hydro which is subject ot the vagaries of climate change, are so expensive that your power bill will easily increase by 30% if it hits 30% of our power needs

      • Don Lesko

        As of today, there are NO operating thorium reactors, anywhere in the world.

  • dikoy321

    WRONG MOVE by DOE !

    Nuclear power is NOT SAFE, even Germany has put up plans to altogether STOP Nuclear Power by 2020 !

    Forward NOT Backward Philippines !!!

    • rolandtr

      Germany is shutting down its old nuclear power plants. Not its nuclear power program.

  • frudo

    BIG NO to nuclear power 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DSVDT6KZWJRFFC5PXZ7J5L2RRA Bruce

    Without an independent source of energy production (nuclear) the prospects are bleak with dependence on dirty coal imports, accident prone offshore drilling for LNG and petrol on naval territorial claims. US sequester on DOD will require Philippine shipbuilding and economy to go full tilt production this requires energy. GO NUKES

  • obleman

    Sige magtayo tayo ng SOLAR, WIND, HYDRO powerplant na gusto niyo, baka magulat ka kung ano ang magiging presyo ng kuryente mo.

    Tandaan, in building power plants hindi lang kung magkano ang tinitignan kundi ang kapasidad din nitong mag-generate ng kuryente. Nuclear power can generate alot of electricity unlike the up and coming green energy. Maybe 20 years pa bago mapaunlad ang teknolohiya na gusto niyo. And as a developing country, we cannot waste time to wait or build inefficient source of power. If that happens, we will not sustain our economic growth. Tignan natin ang kasaysayan dahil nangyari na ito. In the late 1980s, hindi pinayagan ng president Aquino na buksan ang Bataan Nuclear powerplant. E’ ayon tuloy, ika nga ni Marcos: in 20 years bagsak na ang Pilipinas.

    Bumagsak nga ang Pilipinas at BABANGON tayo.. Ngunit paano tayo aahon kung hindi tayo natututo sa ating pagkakamali?

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94