Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi

ENERGY SECRETARY Alfonso G. Cusi reiterated his push for nuclear power, saying it will reduce dependence on imported fuel.

“We are pushing for nuclear because that will reduce our imports of petroleum,” he said in a recent television interview on ANC.

He said he is advocating for the development of nuclear power plants, which he said will play a “very important” role in achieving energy security.

He said the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is viable for refurbishing to operational status.

“BNPP can still be used, with retrofitting. I have brought technical people who have made all these studies… and they’ve said that yes, we can operate it. I believe we can operate it, but the issue is the political will,” he said.

Aside from nuclear, renewables will also help achieve energy security, according to Mr. Cusi, who added that the Department of Energy (DoE) is gearing up to launch its first green energy auction soon.

Domestic oil prices have risen for an eighth consecutive week. Earlier this week, oil companies announced price increases of gasoline, kerosene and diesel prices by P1.8 per liter (/L), P1.5/L, and P1.3/L, respectively.

The DoE estimates that petroleum imports in the first half of the year rose 41% year on year to 10,028 million liters after Petron Corp. and Pilipinas Shell started importing finished product after shutting down their refineries.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries recently met with Russia, and agreed to stick to a plan for a gradual increase in oil output, despite rising demand. — Angelica Y. Yang