THE Aquino government is firm in its decision not to revive the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, but the Department of Energy remains interested in nuclear energy as an option for power generation.
“It’s a policy decision of the President that we are not going to open the Bataan nuclear power plant. Mainly because, in the opinion of the President, there are too much social complexities that have been caused by that,” Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said.
The declaration comes in the wake of a proposal from US nuclear power company Excel Services Corp. to rehabilitate the mothballed 600-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
“There was one company that wanted, was proposing to come in for nuclear (power generation), but we told him we’re not ready because we’re still determining our stand on nuclear (energy) and we still have to do our study on safety standards,” Almendras said.
He said Excel executives raised the proposal during President Benigno C. Aquino III’s recent visit to the United States to promote investments into the country.
He said Excel gave a proposal on how to rehabilitate Bataan Nuclear citing new technologies that can make the operations of the mothballed power plant safer and with lesser risks.
The energy chief earlier said the Bataan power plant cannot be revived because of safety concerns as it sits on a fault line which could prove disastrous if a seismic event occurs.
Former president Corazon Aquino, the late mother of the President, ordered the $2.3-billion nuclear facility mothballed in 1986 due to safety concerns.
Still, Almendras said the DoE is open to nuclear power as part of the country’s future power generation mix.
“We are not closed to it. We are evaluating it. We have been told that there have been significant technological advancements relative to safety,” he said.
Alena Mae Flores, Manila Standard Today