President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order committing the Philippines to develop a nuclear energy program as a national policy.
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the inclusion of nuclear energy in the country’s power generation mix, the presidential office said on Thursday.
Duterte signed an executive order committing the Philippines to a nuclear energy program as a matter of national policy. The program encompasses the planning and construction, operational, commercial, and post-operation stages of nuclear power plants, as well as the development of nuclear power infrastructure.
The order says the state “will ensure the peaceful use of nuclear technology anchored on critical tenets of public safety, national security, energy self-sufficiency, and environmental sustainability.”
According to an inter-agency nuclear energy program committee study on the viability of nuclear power, the country’s demand for a clean energy pathway will grow by 4.4 percent per year by 2040, requiring nearly 68 gigatonnes of additional capacity.
“Considering this demand and the depletion of natural gas resources, nuclear power will play an important role to contribute to the required capacity to achieve energy security, especially to meet the needs of an emerging upper-middle-income country,” the order says.
In July 2020, Duterte established an inter-agency body tasked with reviewing the existing legal framework, researching the viability of nuclear energy, and recommending the next steps in utilizing nuclear energy and existing facilities, particularly the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
Financed by loans, the construction of the BNPP began in 1976 during the administration of Ferdinand Marcos. But the plant on the Bataan Peninsula, 100 km west of Manila, was never fueled after its completion in 1984.