Goodbye to nuclear energy?

Forget about earlier news reports that the Duterte administration is seriously considering reviving the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). 

          According to Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev, the BNPP is beyond revival as the technology in the plant is "absolutely outdated."

          "The safety standards, [the] international standards are much, much higher than the standards on which the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was built. So I think it's not possible at all," the envoy said.

          Khovaev's statement reflects the findings of Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom which conducted an assessment of the facility last August to determine if it was fit for commissioning. Rosatom had also previously announced it would look into the possibility of land-based and floating nuclear power plants in the country.

          Constructed during the Marcos regime, the BNPP is the country's first and only nuclear power station to date. The plant never opened nor managed to produce a single watt of electricity due to issues regarding corruption and safety, compounded by the fear following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

          With the possibility of BNPP rehabilitation and Russia helping build land-based or floating nuclear energy facilities in the country effectively doused,  the Department of Energy will have to continue to rely on fossil fuels, and renewables such as geothermal, hydropower, solar, and biomass, among others, to meet the country's  energy requirements in the years ahead.

          Unless, of course, the Duterte administration decides to build a new nuclear power plant using new technology.

          That's not a far-fetched possibility especially if the DOE also decides to propose the adoption of nuclear energy with our growing

economy requiring more energy sources.

          The DOE signed a memorandum of understanding with Rosatom in 2017 regarding cooperation on various uses of nuclear energy. The DOST has a similar agreement with Rosatom on the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes covering workshops, training of personnel, and the exchange of scientific information.

          In short, we have not completely shut out nuclear energy as an option for our growing economy.



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