By Michael Del Callar | GMA News Online
United Nations nuclear watchdog chief Yukiya Amano on Monday said his agency is ready to assist the Philippines should it decide to revive the long-mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
Speaking at a press conference at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Amano said the last few years have seen an increasing number of countries, particularly in Asia, turning to nuclear power for energy even when the Fukushima nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan had a scary meltdown after the facility was damaged by a monstrous earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
And if the Philippines decides to follow suit, Amano said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is prepared to help the country in its efforts to revive the facility.
“I don’t interfere in the decision of each country, but each country has preference. But if you decide (to re-open it) we are ready to help,” Amano said.
The IAEA chief is in Manila for the country’s 3rd Nuclear Congress, a multi-sectoral meeting that makes an assessment of the strides achieved by the Philippines in using nuclear energy and the challenges that the country is facing. While in Manila, Amano met with Philippine officials, including Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.
The Fukushima disaster has prompted some countries worldwide to reconsider plans to build more nuclear power facilities. But with growing uncertainties over oil supply, more states may opt to embrace nuclear power to ensure energy stability.
Using nuclear power instead of coal fire power plants, he said, is not only economical, but could help reduce the disastrous effects of climate change on the planet.
“After the Fukushima incident, some believe that that’s the end of nuclear power. That is not the case,” Amano said.
After the incident, Amano said the IAEA organized a conference and its concluding report revealed that the problem with Fukushima lies in its lack of preparedness for a severe natural hazard.
Nuclear power plants around the world since then are much more strengthened, he noted.