MANILA, Philippines – Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said Monday, April 20, that he is pushing for a nuclear regulatory body to review the feasibility of reviving the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).“I don’t want to decide on it. We must have a nuclear regulatory body to decide on it because this is a very sensitive issue,” Petilla said. The body will also address the safety concerns raised by various sectors against the revival of the power facility. “No one will sell uranium to us if we have no nuclear body. This is a big task,” Petilla added.
Also, it will take $400 to $600 million to revive the facility.“The structures are older,” Petilla said. The $2.3 billion nuclear power plant was built between 1976 and 1984 on a 357-hectare government reservation at Napot Point, Morong, Bataan. The property where BNPP is located is owned by the Department of Finance, not DOE.
Talks on BNPP’s revival started in 2014 when Petilla said the BNPP, which has a 600-megawatt (MW) capacity, could help ease the country’s power supply problems. But Petilla stressed then that the DOE is not reviving the BNPP facility. The Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) expressed interest to put up a 600MW coal-fired power plant besides BNPP. Petilla said he is allowing this, provided that the proposed power facility should not be put up anywhere near the BNPP. Converting the mothballed facility into a coal plant was also considered.
“But not to the point that it would kill the viability of the BNPP before it is actually concluded,” Petilla said.