Energy dep’t stance on nuclear power due by year’s end

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Bataan nuclear power plant
A general view shows the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Bataan on September 16, 2016. -- AFP

THE Department of Energy (DoE) has committed to come up with a national position on nuclear energy before the end of the year, an official of the agency said on Monday.

“It’s a national position not a national policy,” Energy Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos said in a press conference at the DoE headquarters on Monday.

He said the country’s stand would include whether the Bataan nuclear power plant is to be rehabilitated, or if not, an advice on the “best use” for the facility.

Mr. Marcos is the designated chairman of the DoE’s Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Office (Nepio), which was set up specifically to come up with the country’s policy on nuclear energy.

Nepio is also expected to come up with the department’s stand on whether to allow the building of a nuclear plant in the Philippines.

Mr. Marcos said the national position is a product of consultations with experts, including those coming from Russia and Slovenia, which made a preliminary assessment of the possibility and viability of rehabilitating the Bataan nuclear power plant.

Together with the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute and the National Power Corp., Mr. Marcos brought representatives from Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp. and Slovenia’s Gen Enerjia to the “nuclear village” in Bagac, Bataan. Australian energy engineering form WorleyParsons Ltd. also joined the inspection of the facility.

He has said that the activity will define the scope of work for the pre-feasibilty study of the possible rehabilitation of the nuclear plant.

The DoE said the feasibility study to be conducted by Rosatom is free of charge as part of the cooperation between the Philippines and Russia.

The Bataan plant’s construction began in 1976, but was stopped after the Three Mile Island accident in the US in 1979. — Victor V. Saulon