The Department of Science and Technology and its attached agency―the mothballed Philippine Nuclear Research Institute―want the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant commissioned because of a looming depletion of gas from the Malampaya gas field in Palawan.
Carlo Arcilla, PNRI director, told reporters “all well-lit places in the world” had nuclear power plants.
“There is more radiation when eating one banana [because of its potassium] than standing in front of the BNPP,” Arcilla said.
He also stood firm on the findings of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology that there is no fault beneath the BNPP.
He said while 10 percent of the monthly earnings of a median Filipino family went to pay for electricity, its counterpart in the United States was spending less than 1 percent for their monthly power bill.
“The US has at least 100 nuclear power plants,” Arcilla said.
He said they saw the need to revive the BNPP because the production from the Malampaya gas field was only good for another five years.
“The cost of electricity would significantly go down if we could only rely on nuclear power,” Arcilla said.
Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña joined Arcilla during the conference.
Arcilla, a University of the Philippines professor, said while he supported the use of coal-powered energy and wind energy to produce more electricity, the revival of the BNPP, which could produce 700 megwatts “at most,” and the construction of more nuclear plants were still necessary.
The Philippines would face a power shortfall of over 10,000 megawatts “in the near future,” he said, adding the country needed power to be produced by coal, wind and nuclear plants.
“I acknowledge the concerns of some environmental advocates as to where to dump the nuclear waste,” Arcilla said.
“But that would not a be a big problem. We are an archipelagic country. We have so many islands such as Kalayaan and Pagasa, and the technology to dump nuclear waste through deep geologic borehole disposal. “We have very good scientists in our country.”
Arcilla said people became “schizophrenic” when they heard talk about the BNPP’s restoration.
He said just two weeks ago the PNRI endorsed to President Rodrigo Duterte its recommendation to use the BNPP, which has not been used.
“Experts from South Korea, Russia and China recommended the revival of the power plant, saying its reactor is still in a very good condition except its turbines,” Arcilla said.
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