THE Department of Energy (DoE) is studying the use of small nuclear generators to power off-grid areas, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said in a statement.

His announcement over the weekend follows the issuance of Executive Order No. 116 which ordered a feasibility study on nuclear energy.

Mr. Cusi told the nuclear industry at a forum that the Philippines is studying modular nuclear plants for remote areas.

“The possibility of establishing a modular power plant in the country might come sooner,” the DoE quoted him as saying in the statement.

Modular plants are formed from groups of small nuclear reactors and have capacities of 300 megawatts (MW) or less, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

At the Nuclear Business Platform webinar, Mr. Cusi addressed concerns about the expected political fallout from going nuclear.

He presented a DoE survey in 2019 which revealed that nearly eight out of ten Filipinos are willing to learn more about nuclear energy.

“With such a positive turnout, I feel that now is time for intensified and informed public discussions on nuclear energy and its potential role in the Philippine energy security agenda,” he said.

New nuclear plants gained 65% approval from respondents and the rehabilitation of the mothballed 621-MW Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was backed by 79%.

The DoE’s Philippine Energy Plan expects the inclusion of nuclear power to the generation mix by 2027. — Adam J. Ang