SENATOR Nancy Binay urged the Department of Energy to set a clear policy direction on the use of nuclear energy as a source of electricity and for all stakeholders to discuss plans to open the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
“Hinihikayat ko ang Department of Energy na gumawa na ng polisiya tungkol sa paggamit ng nuclear energy para pagkunan ng kuryente,” said Binay, vice chair of the Senate Energy Committee.
“Pag-usapan na natin kung ano ba talaga ang magiging policy natin towards nuclear energy. First step itong pagbisita namin dito sa Bataan Nuclear Power Plant para makita namin if it’s a potential source of energy,” the lady senator added.
The Philippines is highly dependent on electricity produced by coal and diesel, with more than half of the power supply coming from fossil fuels -- 30 percent comes from natural gas plants and 10 percent from renewable sources which include geothermal, wind, hydropower, and solar energy.
The DOE said in 2015, the country imported over 17 million metric tons (MT) of coal, with Indonesia supplying the bulk of it. Power generation accounted for 79.77% of the 22 million MT of coal consumed last year.
The country’s electricity demand is expected to reach around 30,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030, the department said. Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier said that the country needs to add about 1100 MW per year.
The projected demand has prompted calls to look for alternative sources of electricity in the country, especially that several places in the country experience brownouts and outages.
According to Binay, if needed, the Senate can help in the formulation of the policy.
“Malaking tulong na nakita namin ang facility ngayon. As a legislator, maganda na pag-usapan ito sa Senado,” Binay said.
She added that she is also for technical experts and stakeholders to dialogue on plans to open the mothballed BNPP, which she and other lawmakers visited last Friday.
“There’s always two sides to a story, and nakita natin at narinig natin yung posisyon sa pagbukas ng BNPP. Sabi ko kay Senator Sherwin (Gatchalian) maganda sa susunod na hearing e pakinggan naman namin yung mga grupo na medyo hindi sang-ayon sa pagbubukas ng BNPP,” Binay said.
Several groups have raised issues about the safety and acceptability of nuclear plants, noting that the 1986 Chernobyl and 2011 Fukushima disasters as examples of nuclear plant accidents.