Robredo opens up to nuclear power source but rejects Bataan plant revival


Presidential candidate Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo is open to adopting nuclear power as the energy source for the Philippines, but has rejected reopening the 620 nuclear power plant megawatts of Bataan (BNPP), citing security concerns.

“We will never revive him because he was not even prosecuted in the first place for several reasons, so we will never revive his operations,” Ms. Robredo told the media after the first presidential debate organized by the Election Commission (COMELEC). Saturday evening.

Discussions about the possibility of reopening the decommissioned $2.2 billion BNPP recently emerged after President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed an executive order on February 28 authorizing the inclusion of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix. as the government prepares to abandon coal.

Ms Robredo said if she won the May 9 election she would authorize the construction of nuclear power plants backed by a thorough safety study.

The vice president, however, stressed that she would further push renewable energy sources in line with the country’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

“And for me, we should already be moving towards renewable energy sources since we committed at COP26 that by 2050 we will be carbon neutral,” she said.

COP26 is the 26and United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow in October last year the Philippines was one of 40 countries that endorsed the decision to move away from coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel.

In 2020, the energy mix of the Philippines consisted of 57% coal, 21% renewable energy, 19% natural gas and 2% oil.

“While nuclear power is cleaner compared to fossil fuels, it’s controversial mostly because a lot of people are afraid for its safety. This is our main concern,” Ms. Robredo said.

Attempts to reopen the BNPP in previous administrations to address power supply issues have been hampered by security concerns, particularly its location which is believed to be along an active fault line and faulty disposal design. safety of highly radioactive nuclear waste.

Undersecretary of Energy Gerardo D. Erguiza, Jr. said earlier that if allowed by the next administration, the country could build a traditional nuclear power plant as early as 2027. Other nuclear power plants with small modular reactors , which are sought after for off-grid areas, can be built as soon as the regulatory framework is in place.

The late President Corazon C. Aquino ordered the BNPP closed in 1986, two years after its completion, due to security and corruption concerns during its construction under the administration of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr.

Mr. Marcos’ only son and namesake, Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., is running for president in the upcoming election. — Marielle C. Lucenio

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