THE Department of Energy (DoE) has identified 15 sites as possible locations for nuclear power generating plants, subject to further evaluation of their potential to meet international norms for such facilities.

“We have identified 15 sites all over the country, but that’s just the first stage… they will be subjected to rigorous evaluation, in which experts, including those from the International Atomic Energy Agency and (from) all over the world will be consulted,” DoE Assistant Secretary Gerardo D. Erguiza, Jr. said during PTV4’s Laging Handa briefing Thursday.

He said the process will be “transparent and all problems will be addressed.”

“We have stated in the past that we will meticulously look at (injecting nuclear power into the energy mix),” he added.

DoE Spokesman Felix William B. Fuentebella said the department is looking at using renewable energy, nuclear, and hydrogen-based power as alternatives to conventional fuels in the event of a supply disruption affecting traditional power sources.

In July, President Rodrigo R. Duterte created an interagency body tasked with conducting a study on adopting a National Position on a Nuclear Energy Program (NEP). The committee submitted its recommendations in December.

On Thursday, Mr. Erguiza described nuclear as a “good source of stable, secure and reliable power,” which some advanced countries depend on.

Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) Executive Director Carlo A. Arcilla has said that nuclear holds the potential to address baseload power needs. The PNRI is part of the NEP Inter-agency Committee.

Last month, the DoE and PNRI rolled out an educational campaign on nuclear science and technology to broaden public awareness and improve public perception of the power source. — Angelica Y. Yang