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‘Very risky business’

Senator calls for ‘utmost transparency’ in gov’t nuclear energy study

/ 12:41 PM July 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Transparency “should be the guiding post” of the government’s planned feasibility study on introducing nuclear energy into the country’s power generation mix, the Senate’s energy panel chair said.

“Transparency should be the guiding post from day one on the conduct of the study for the possible adoption of nuclear power in our energy mix,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, said in a statement.

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“Nuclear power is a very risky business. The world is always on a constant debate on the adoption of nuclear power because of its inherent risk to public welfare,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently issued Executive Order (EO) 116, creating the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC) to conduct a study “for the adoption of a National Position on a Nuclear Energy Program (NEP).”

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But Gatchalian cautioned that nuclear energy is a “very complicated” energy source and that it “demands high-level knowledge to fully maximize it’s utilization without sacrificing public safety.”

“The conduct of this study should proceed with utmost transparency to the public in every step of the way,” the senator said.

“The public should be well-informed on the inherent risk and the potential of nuclear power. Only an open and free discussion of this technology will deepen the comprehension of the public,” he added.

The NEP-IAC, which will be headed by the Department of Energy, is required to submit a report to Duterte within six months.

The $2-billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is the country’s first and only nuclear power station. It was built during the term of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the height of the 1973 oil crisis.

However, it never became operational due to allegations of corruption and safety issues.

During Duterte’s visit to Russia in October 2019, the Philippines signed a memorandum with Russia’s state nuclear company to look into the feasibility of buying into its newly launched “floating nuclear power plant” technology.

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TAGS: Nation, news, nuclear energy, power mix, President Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
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