Philippine Nuclear Research Institute director Carlos Arcilla (Photo grabbed from his Facebook account)
MANILA – Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) director Carlos Arcilla is encouraging the use of nuclear power in the energy mix, saying this could also help lower one’s electricity bill.
In an interview Tuesday night, Arcilla clarified he is not against the use of solar and wind power, which are also cost-efficient sources of energy.
“There has to be a back-up. The sun does not shine at night, and there is always a typhoon in the country,” he remarked.
A nuclear power plant could store energy that could last for up to 18 months, he added.
“There is also a technology now that could enable one to extract uranium from the ocean,” he said, adding that generating electricity from uranium is also cost-efficient.
In July, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 116, which directs a study for the adoption of a national position on a nuclear energy program.
Under the EO, the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC) was created, chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE), with the Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology as vice chair.
“The IAC will start crafting recommendations on integrating the nuclear energy (in the energy mix), its feasibility, how this would be done, etc.,” Arcilla said.
Arcilla pointed out that some people think nuclear power plants are not safe.
“There are 450 nuclear power plants globally, 100 of which are in America. If it is unsafe, why would America have 100 nuclear power plants?” he asked.
He also noted that nuclear energy is clean as there are no greenhouse emissions and that it complements renewable sources such as wind and solar.
Citing that among the sources of energy in the Philippines are coal and natural gas, he asked where would the country source the energy once the Malampaya runs out of gas, which he claimed is running out of gas in five years.
“There has to be a back-up,” he reiterated.
A good alternative to this is liquefied natural gas, along with nuclear energy, he shared.
Meanwhile, Arcilla confirmed that even if the President would agree to the suggestion of integrating nuclear power in the energy mix, it would take time before it could happen.
“Maybe about four to five years, because there’s a lot to be done and to be considered,” he said.
Among these include amending the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), according to Arcilla.
“EPIRA has to be amended. For example, (to determine) who can own a power plant. We are always after the safety, security, and safeguards,” he said.
The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, since it is already there, needs to be rehabilitated, Arcilla added. (PNA)