Devanadera to DoE: Fast-track development of nuclear energy

Devanadera to DoE: Fast-track development of nuclear energy

With the incoming Marcos administration comes hope for the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). Photo shows a worker looking at the operational panel inside the mothballed power plant. (Photo: Bharat Express News)

MANILA — Outgoing Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chairperson Agnes Devanadera is advising the government that if it wants to shy away from using coal as an energy source, it should fast-track the development of nuclear energy to complement President Rodrigo Duterte’s recently issued Executive Order 164 which adopts a national position for a nuclear energy program for the Philippines.

Under its updated Philippine Energy Plan, the Department of Energy (DoE) is targeting to ramp up the renewable energy share in the country’s power generation mix to 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040.

“Why do we have to give so much importance to nuclear energy? That’s the only source that can provide power in a big capacity. We are not just talking about 100 megawatts, we’re talking about bigger capacities here, and only nuclear power can deliver that,” Devanadera pointed out to explain her stand on the issue of utilizing our nuclear energy source.

This is supported by outgoing energy secretary Alfonso Cusi, who argued that despite being a highly-politicized issue, establishing nuclear power as a viable energy source is “clean and cheap.”

“If nuclear energy is included in our energy mix, it will give us energy security. Of course, this is a clean source of power and will offer a cheaper price. President Duterte has already signed the national policy to include nuclear energy in our energy mix but we need a lot of things to be done before we can achieve it,” Cusi cited.

“Time has come to prioritize the energization of small islands by putting up small modular nuclear power plants, especially in areas not yet connected to the main grid. We should look at the island provinces, and we will study the cost of putting up small modular nuclear power plants, which has been proven safer,” he added while noting that developing a secure and efficient system for storing and using nuclear power is ongoing.

As a final word, though, the energy chief enthused that government should not only rely on the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) alone but instead start looking at the bigger picture and not just the BNPP.

“We need other plants and most importantly, we need the policy to govern this development. Once we finish this policy, we will also look at the BNPP. The government still maintains the facility because it is very important, very valuable. There can be many uses for the BNPP, so we are maintaining it,” he concluded. (ai/mtvn)

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