ABOITIZ POWER Corp. (AboitizPower) said it is in initial discussions with a US company that makes micro modular reactors to advance its plans to pursue nuclear power.

“Early discussions. Nuclear should always be an option for the country, I think when it becomes available, it’s going to be economically feasible solution that’s not emitting carbon dioxide but there has to be a number of items that need to be in place,” Emmanuel V. Rubio, president and chief executive officer of AboitizPower, told reporters on Thursday.

Mr. Rubio said safety standards are in place but need to be updated if the Philippines is to pursue nuclear power projects.

“In one of the talks I participated in, (it was noted) that laws are already in place. We just have to revisit whether those safety standards are updated. Government has to have a role in encouraging nuclear power as an option,” Mr. Rubio said. 

He said the potential supplier is Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. with which the group is engaged in exploratory talks.

“Exploratory talks. We’re going to do a signing of an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with Ultra Safe just to continue the discussion. But Ultra Safe makes micro modular reactors of around 5-7 MW (megawatts)… probably perfect for micro grids,” he said.

The Philippines needs to comply with 19 requirements set by the International Atomic Energy Agency. So far, the government has accomplished one of the 19 milestones, which is the development of a national position on nuclear power.

“I think the licensing will be 2027, 2028. So, it’s going to be beyond that. Maybe around 2030 we can seriously consider that option,” he said.

Last year, AboitizPower said it is exploring investing in a nuclear project.

The Department of Energy has said that it is considering a target of about 2,400 MW in nuclear power capacity by 2035, a goal which it plans to incorporate in the Philippine Energy Plan. — Ashley Erika O. Jose