Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Sharon Garin said that it will take 10 years before a nuclear power plant becomes operational in the Philippines.

“If we do it the regular way. You have to have siting, you have feasibility studies, then you have to develop the siting to make sure it’s durable enough to ensure the safety of our people. I think 10 years,” Garin said in an interview.

Garin added that the country should also do acceptability surveys, as well as security measures before the country can build and operate a nuclear power plant.

The undersecretary also highlighted the need to prepare to decommission the plant if something happens, citing incidences in Japan and Ukraine where it took them 10 years to decommission their respective power plants.

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The Philippines already had a nuclear program with the Bataan Nuclear Power Plan (BNPP) back in 1976 under then-President Ferdinand Marcos. However, the USD 2.3 billion project was shelved only after three years due to safety concerns.

Back in March, previous President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 164 to help develop a nuclear power program and incorporate it into the Philippines’ power mix.

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The DOE has also submitted a proposal to the House of Representatives to create the Commission on Nuclear Energy.

When asked if the BNPP will be revived, Garin answered by saying: “What possibly we can do is do a third-party assessment.” He added that the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) or the DOE themselves can also do the study. The undersecretary also hopes that there’s an allocation from the 2023 budget to pursue the third-party assessment of the BNPP.

Once it’s clear if the BNPP is still safe to use, then they will decide who will operate it. Albeit, he added that it will still be up to Congress to decide how nuclear power plants should be operated.

“EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) does not allow the government to generate. If we do a new law – which we are, it’s already in Congress – the Congress has to decide if this will be an exception to EPIRA or do we assign an agency or GOCC to develop nuclear power in the country. Or we make it like the conventional powers that we have that we leave it to the private sector, or we can do PPP (public-private partnership), or BOT (build-operate-transfer),” Garin explained.

Via: GMA News Online



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