Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order that would help the development of nuclear power to be used as an alternative source of energy.
Signed last February 28, Executive Order No. 164 defines the Philippines ‘ position for a nuclear energy program that will consider the country’s political, economic, social, and environmental objectives.
As per the EO, the country must have an affordable, sustainable, quality, secure, and reliable supply of electricity to help achieve its growth targets. The county should also have enough reserve to ensure that there’s supply in case of disruptions.
“Toward this end, and taking into consideration the experience of developed and growing economies, nuclear power shall be tapped as a viable alternative baseload power source along with alternative energy resources, to address the projected decline of coal-fired power plants which come under increasing environmental opposition,”
“The State envisions nuclear power as a viable component to bridge the gap between rising energy demands and supply, taking into account learnings from the past, national, social and economic development pathways, as well as international legal and regulatory frameworks, and best practices,”
The Department of Energy has already finished a feasibility study that will check the viability of adding nuclear power to the Philippines ‘ energy roaster.
As per the EO, there’s a potential to have positive effects on economic growth with nuclear energy. It can also help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and has a strong potential for the power sector to be decarbonized.
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Regarding the possible negative effects of nuclear, the EO says that the State should make sure the “peaceful use” of such technology. Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi also highlights the good effects of nuclear power, which could fix two major problems: unstable electricity supply and high prices.
Formed in 2020, the Nuclear Energy Program-Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC), is tasked to conduct further studies if needed, and provide recommendations on the viability and use of the old Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and the creation of other facilities.
As for the funding, the EO states that “Funding for the succeeding years shall be incorporated in the annual budget proposals of the member-agencies of NEP-IAC, subject to the usual budget process,”
The move will also prepare the country for the phasing out of coal-powered power plants.