7,622 guests

The nuke option

It is always a sad thing to see a great idea irreversibly taken away.

One such idea is energy sufficiency through the use of non-traditional sources of power like nuclear energy.

The plan was to build a power plant that would dramatically if not practically remove the country’s dependence on crude oil, but the project was marked by corruption and other scandals that bloated its total cost.

The project was eventually abandoned.

Now, the government said it may revive a nuclear power plant that was completed 32 years ago but never switched on due to safety fears, the government said Wednesday.

The spokesman for  President Duterte said the government is considering bringing the $2.3 billion plant into operation to meet the country's growing power needs, despite entrenched opposition from activists and environmentalists.
   
"(Officials) are considering all options for sustainable and affordable energy, and reviving the Bataan Nuclear Plant is being considered," spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
   
He stressed that Duterte and the Cabinet would need to approve the use of the plant, located 30 kilometers west of Manila.
   
The plant was built under Marcos to help meet energy needs following the oil price shocks of the 1970s.
   
But after Marcos was toppled in a military-backed popular revolt in 1986, the government of president Corazon Aquino refused to use it.
   
Concerns that the plant was built too close to earthquake fault lines and an active volcano as well as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine in 1986 firmed up the government's decision not to operate the plant.
   
Despite power shortages and high oil prices, calls to activate the plant were counteracted by events such as Japan's 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
   
However in a speech to an international atomic energy conference in Manila on Tuesday, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said "nuclear technology can be a viable choice".
   
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III told the same forum the Philippines was seeking alternatives to fossil fuel.
   
"Nuclear power offers so much potential," he said but noted its negative consequences especially in an earthquake-prone country like the Philippines.