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11月12日のまにら新聞から

Duterte reconsiders using nuclear power, says energy secretary

[ 426 words|2016.11.12|英字 ]

President Rodrigo Duterte has reconsidered his position on using nuclear energy during his term, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said Friday.

Cusi said Duterte is now willing to use nuclear energy, even possibly operating the 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), which has been mothballed after it was completed in 1985.

"The president wants to make sure (about) the security and safety of operating nuclear power plant," Cusi said during the commercial operation ceremonies of First Gen’s 414-megawatt San Gabriel and 97-megawatt Avion natural gas power plants in Batangas City.

Cusi, in a text message to the Daily Manila Shimbun, said he was able to persuade Duterte by assuring “strict adherence to international policies on nuclear (energy).”

Cusi said the Bataan plant will not be immediately rehabilitated. “We will need to evaluate, then decide. It’s difficult to do this quickly,” he added.

In a statement, the energy department is forming the Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO) to explore this as a power source.

The NEPIO is headed by a steering committee with top energy officials at the helm. Energy department bureaus will create technical working groups to ensure effective and timely implementation of its functions and responsibilities, it added.

Citing a feasibility study by the Korea Electric Power Corp. during the Arroyo administration, the energy department said it would cost about $1 billion to rehabilitate the power plant and it would take four years to recommission it.

On Nov 2, Duterte said he was not against nuclear energy but discounted the possibility of using this during his six-year presidency. He specifically raised concerns on safety. .

"Really, really tight safeguards to assure that there will be no disasters if there is nuclear leak or explosion somewhere in the nuclear reactors that we will build in," Duterte said.

In a speech at a nuclear energy forum in Manila last August, Cusi admitted the increasing demand for power is the "most pressing concern" for the country.

With intensified electrification programs, increasing population and strong economic growth, Cusi said demand for power is expected to grow by an average 5 percent per year until 2030, or around 126 terra-watt hour (TWh) from the 2015 level of 82 TWh.

"To meet this requirement, we have to weigh all our options, with emphasis not just on meeting capacity requirements, but sustainability and environmental obligations as well," he said..

Mauro Marcelo Jr., department manager of the state-owned National Power Corporation, said using nuclear power the power generation cost could go down to P1.50 per kilowatt hour from current P3-5 per kwh. Celerina Monte/DMS