The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) said that the Philippines could be nuclear-powered in just five years if the recommended program is strictly followed.
This timeframe, according to PNRI Director Carlo Arcilla, is feasible if the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is rehabilitated and operational.
In an interview with ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo on Sunday, Arcilla said: “Ang sinabi kong pinakamabilis na magkakaroon tayo ng nuclear plant is five years. Kasi ang pinakamabilis po talaga ay i-rehabilitate ang BNPP, eh, (which is in) 5 years.”
(I said the fastest we would have a nuclear plant is five years. Because the fastest thing is to rehabilitate the BNPP, which will take 5 years.)
South Korea, according to Arcilla, has already offered to restore and upgrade the BNPP infrastructure for $1.1 billion.
Arcilla also stated that if a new and larger structure was constructed, it would take longer for nuclear power to be viable in the country.
Since the Malampaya field is expected to run out of gas in the coming years, Arcilla believes the country will require a new source of energy. He goes on to say that coal is no longer sustainable and that its price is rising.
Nuclear power discussions began in the Philippines after President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order last February incorporating nuclear power into the country’s energy mix, fulfilling one of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 19 milestones.
Although it is possible, Arcilla reiterated that nuclear power will only be realized if the next president supports it.
“Depende talaga sa susunod na president. Kung ayaw ng susunod na president ng nuclear, status quo tayo, parang walang nangyari,” he stressed.
(It really depends on the next president. If the next nuclear president doesn’t want us to maintain the status quo, nothing seems to have happened.)