By Victor V. Saulon
THE Department of Energy (DoE) has held discussions with a South Korean company which tackled a possible feasibility study for a modular nuclear reactor in an economic zone in Cagayan province.
In a statement on Wednesday, the DoE said the modular reactor being considered would have a capacity of 100 megawatts (MW) to be located in an area managed by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).
The Energy department identified the company as Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, or KHNP, with its president and chief executive officer, Chung Jae Hoon, holding talks with Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos and Assistant Secretary Gerardo D. Erguiza, Jr.
The discussions took place in South Korea on June 5, the DoE said. President Rodrigo R. Duterte visited the country this week and reportedly brought home investment pledges.
CEZA supervises the development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport in the northeastern Philippines. The freeport includes Sta. Ana town and islands in Aparri town in Cagayan province. It covers around 54,118.95 hectares.
Asked for comment, a staff member for CEZA Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Raul L. Lambino said the official has yet to report for work after traveling to South Korea. The staff member said Mr. Lambino was part of the President’s official delegation.
During the visit, the DoE said Mr. Cusi received submissions of letters of intent from South Korean companies, which it identified as SK Engineering & Construction, Sy Enc Co. Ltd., BKS Energy Industry Ltd., and SK E&S.
The event took place during the Philippines-Korea business forum and luncheon hosted by the South Korean business community for Mr. Duterte.
The letters of intent, which the DoE said cover “various potential energy investments in the country,” was presented by Mr. Cusi to the President on Tuesday.
The DoE quoted Mr. Marcos and Mr. Erguiza as saying that SK Engineering & Construction deals in coal-fired power generation and submitted its proposal for a coal-fired power plant. Sy Enc is involved in renewable energy and submitted a proposal for a wind power project, they added.
BKS Energy Industry Ltd. is also into renewables and proposed a solar power generation facility, the officials said.
“SK E&S put forward its proposal for an LNG [liquefied natural gas] terminal hub,” they added.
Mr. Cusi has described nuclear energy as an option for the Philippines. He has maintained a stance of being technology-neutral, as long as the energy source can provide secure and reliable power supply.
He has said that based on the technical assessment of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the use of nuclear technologies, including nuclear energy, is a possible inclusion for the country’s energy mix.
In March 2017, he said the DoE was studying the possibility of putting up a modular nuclear facility in Sulu ahead of a decision on whether the mothballed Bataan nuclear power plant will be rehabilitated or converted into a different power generation project.
In April, Mr. Cusi announced his submission to the Office of the President of the department’s proposed national policy on nuclear energy. He said the policy answers whether nuclear energy is going to be an option for the country, especially since “there are provinces already that are available [and] ready to take nuclear as a power source.”