MANILA, PHILIPPINES – South Korea’s offer to rehabilitate the dormant Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) remains open. This was revealed by the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute Director, Carlo Arcilla.
The Philippine government must consider South Korea’s offer to rehabilitate the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) at a cost of $1 billion, which could increase the country’s power capacity.
In an interview with CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Weekend, Arcilla stated that “we should consider South Korea’s offer because they have credibility.”
He asserted that the majority of South Korea’s nuclear power plants are the same age as the BNPP and that the construction costs were recouped in just six years.
However, before agreeing to Seoul’s proposal, Arcilla requested that lawmakers amend the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), which prohibits the government from owning power generating units.
“Isang legal roadblock ‘yan kasi kung gobyerno ang may-ari, hindi na pwedeng mag-generate ng power. Dapat i-modify ang EPIRA law,” said Arcilla.
The PNRI director assured that once the government gives the BNPP the go-ahead to operate, it will adhere to international standards and undergo thorough safety inspections to avoid potential nuclear disasters.
South Korea’s offer comes after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 164, which established a nuclear energy program to diversify the country’s energy sources.
Arcilla said the BNPP was designed to generate 623 megawatts of power and not enough to significantly contribute to our power needs, but he said we should start considering harnessing nuclear energy since the country’s main sources of fuel, like the Malampaya field, will run out of gas in the next few years.
Morong, Bataan, is the site of the $2.3 billion mothballed BNPP. It is the country’s sole nuclear power plant and was finished in the 1980s under the direction of late President Ferdinand E. Marcos.