Nuclear Energy in the Philippines can trace its roots all the way back to 1958 when the government, through Republic Act 2067, formed the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). This eventually became the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). PNRI is charged with overseeing the study, research, and peaceful uses of nuclear technology.
In 1973, at the height of the Middle East oil crisis, an event that drastically raised the price of oil globally, the Philippine Government announced the decision to build a nuclear power plant. The government believed that nuclear power is the solution to meeting the energy demands of a growing economy while reducing its dependence on imported oil. This prompted the construction of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) three years after and was completed in 1984.
Upon completion, BNPP passed a year-long series of Hot Functional Tests where it generated 5 megawatts of electricity from its Nuclear Steam Supply System. To this day, BNPP is still considered as one of the most robustly built power stations in the world. It is also recognized as a facility with a more advanced design (Westinghouse Pressurized Water Reactor Nuclear Power Plant, the most popular reactor design in the industry) and certainly more recent than half of the operating nuclear power plants in the United States. The BNPP was also designed to withstand an Intensity 8 earthquake, and with an 18-meter ground elevation above sea level, the plant is also protected from tidal waves and tsunamis. The National Power Corporation even claims that the BNPP “can sustain operation even if a Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant-like tsunami incident of March 11, 2011, happened at this site.”
If the plant were to be operated, its 620-MW capacity can power at least 10-percent of Luzon Grid’s energy requirements today.
In the 14th Congress, former Pangasinan Representative, and staunch nuclear power advocate, Mark Cojuangco filed House Bill 4631, also known as the “Bataan Nuclear Power Plant Re-Commissioning Act of 2008.” The Bill strongly proposes that nuclear energy to be a distinct and substantial part of the country’s energy mix. The Bill also outlined the economic and environmental benefits of nuclear power in contrast to existing power sources both renewable and non-renewable. Unfortunately, the bill stalled after the 2011 disaster at Fukushima.
However, we at Clean Energy Philippines believe that the BNPP, a fully paid idle asset, can be a key solution to addressing the energy challenges that continue to plague our country. It answers three vital issues immediately:
1) Provide cheap and abundant energy for industries, businesses, and households.
2) Contribute to the fight against climate change by providing emissions-free energy that is not harmful to the environment and to the people.
3) Lessen our dependence on imported and finite fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oil.
Former Pangasinan Representative Mark Cojuangco presenting the benefits of nuclear energy in front community members and leaders.