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Philippines Continues to Explore Nuclear Option Despite Japan Disaster, Groups Call on Gov’t to Exercise Caution

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Philippines Continues to Explore Nuclear Option Despite Japan Disaster, Groups Call on Gov’t to Exercise Caution

Dr. Giovanni Tapang said that the nuclear plant accident in Japan should serve as an ample warning to the Philippine government against rushing headlong into the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com

Despite increasingly worrisome reports regarding the explosion in one of Japan’s nuclear power plants after last Friday’s 8.9 earthquake, the Philippine government has announced that it is still determined to explore and consider the nuclear energy option.

Energy officials said that the Aquino government would take the Japan disaster into consideration before it comes up with any policy decision regarding the development of nuclear energy as a power source in the country.

Energy Undersecretary Josefina P. Asirit said that as things stand, there is no existing Philippine policy on the use of atomic power. In interviews with the media, she said the disaster in Japan would not stop an ongoing technical study because, as she said, the government and its responsible agencies ” want to be kept abreast of technological innovations.”

Last January, the Korean firm Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco) announced that it would participate in the conduct of a feasibility study on the safety of nuclear energy in the Philippines. According to reports, the company has declared its readiness to join any bidding on nuclear energy development.

A government owned-utility, Kepco is the world’s third largest nuclear energy provider with an installed nuclear generation capacity of 17,716 megawatts as of end-2008.

The Korean company has already conducted a feasibility study on the revival of the BNPP and said that re-powering it would cost at least $1 billion.

Based on a company profile, Kepco operates 20 commercial nuclear power units as of 2009, with eight more units currently under construction and an additional 10 units planned to be built by 2030.

A Cautious Approach to Nuclear Power

In the meantime, the Department of Energy (DoE) has said that it would continue to uphold its commitments to “harmonize” the Philippines’ nuclear power development program with counterparts in the Southeast Asian region. At the end of last year, the DoE announced that it would jumpstart this year its own technical study leading to that policy direction..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/03/16/philippines-continues-to-explore-nuclear-option-despite-japan-disaster-groups-call-on-govt-to-exercise-caution/

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