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Philippines to draw up nuclear energy policy
2018-4-27

The Philippines Department of Energy has submitted its recommendation to the President on the country's nuclear energy policy. The policy will include a decision on the future of the mothballed Bataan nuclear power plant.

Bataan NPP - 460 (I Rotaru-IAEA)
The mothballed Bataan plant (Image: I Rotaru/IAEA)

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi was cited as saying by the Business Worldnewspaper that he had "submitted the papers, the policy direction and the national policy proposal", adding that the formal transmission letter had been submitted last week.

Cusi said the objective of formulating a national nuclear policy is not just to decide whether the Bataan plant should be rehabilitated, but "to find final closure" on the facility because of the 300-hectare site it occupies. "So we have to do something about it," he said.

As Energy Secretary, he does not have the authority to declare the abandonment of the Bataan plant, he said, so a process would be required if that decision was taken.

The first 620 MWe unit of the Bataan plant - owned by National Power Corporation - was completed in 1984 but was never fuelled or operated. The Philippines government finally paid off the cost of building the plant in April 2007. In November, Russia and the Philippines signed a cooperation agreement which included an audit and assessment of the technical condition of the mothballed Bataan plant, "including the option of its rehabilitation".

The nuclear policy, Cusi said, will consider whether nuclear energy is going to be an option for the country, especially as there are already provinces "that are available [and] ready to take nuclear as a power source". He added, "We are processing it as an alternative power source."

In February, following technical cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Cusi was cited by The Philippine Star as saying: "Based on the technical assessment, the use of nuclear technologies, including nuclear energy, is seen as a long-term energy option for the country. The possible inclusion of nuclear power in the current energy mix is consistent with the national policy towards a technology-neutral energy sector."

  
 
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