MANILA, Philippines -- Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes has sought the help of developed countries for solutions on how to safely dispose of nuclear wastes, as the government continued to consider nuclear power as a sustainable source of energy.
In his speech at the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century in Beijing, Reyes told participants that the Philippine government has been studying nuclear power as a long-term option to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuel as a primary source of energy.
The energy chief explained that like other developing countries, the Philippines?owing to its growing requirements for electricity?has been pinning its hopes on nuclear power, said to be a proven technology with virtually no greenhouse gas emissions or emission of pollutants.
?Our country?s renewed interest in nuclear power, like the rest of the world, is primarily driven by concerns in energy security, volatility of fossil fuel prices and rising carbon dioxide emissions,? Reyes said.
However, the government has to address the disposal of nuclear wastes?one of the ?most sensitive and critical issues confronting the adoption of nuclear power,? Reyes said.
Reyes had thus asked conference participants, particularly the developed countries, for ?sustainable solutions.?
?The Philippines, a developing country that depends much on imported fuels, is forging ahead with plans to realize energy security and an optimal energy mix given the realities the country faces,? Reyes added.
If the Philippines were to consider nuclear power, it would work closely with the United Nations? International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The IAEA had organized the Beijing conference primarily to allow participants to discuss developments and emerging issues relevant to the role of nuclear power in providing clear and sustainable energy for national and regional development.
?Consistent with the recommendations of the IAEA expert mission, we have formed the Inter-Agency Core Group on Nuclear Energy to study the prospect of introducing nuclear in our energy system,? Reyes said.
The Philippines first tried the idea of using nuclear power with the construction of the $2.3-billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. The project, which was never commissioned, was mothballed due to manifold reasons, including the alleged defects of the plant.
Pending the actual introduction of nuclear power, the Philippines is also reducing its dependence on fossil fuels by exploiting renewable energy sources such as wind, water, and geothermal gases.
?While we have taken a big step toward clean energy utilization, our calculations estimate that the contribution of renewable energy sources to the country?s power requirement is projected to be 35-55 percent until 2030,? Reyes said.
Reyes reiterated the Philippines? commitment to do its part to address global warming, being a signatory to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.