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Energy firm considering nuclear power facility in Tawi-Tawi, Sulu

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A May 11, 2018 photo shows the insides of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. The government is now studying the possibility of reviving plans to develop nuclear power to help meet the country's growing energy requirement. -- REUTERS

SULU SEA Energy Resources Development Corp., a new entrant in the energy and petroleum exploration sectors, may well be the first local company to come forward under the present administration with plans to put up a nuclear power station.

The power station is being considered in the Tawi-Tawi and Sulu area, its top official said, as the company looks at expanding the area’s power sources to include solar and possibly, oil and gas.

“We believe that nuclear power offers a great opportunity for diversifying into non-fossil fuel based, non-carbon emitting power source that is able to supply the base load power needed for developing areas,” said Benjamin G. Loong II, Sulu Sea president, in an e-mail to further explain his views after an interview on Friday.

He said energy source diversification would help, especially for the island provinces isolated from the mainland grid.

“We are quite interested in the prospect of possibly being able to partner with a foreign company in order to bring this power generation technology into the country,” he said.

Mr. Loong said the company’s nuclear ambition remains a prospect for now as nothing substantial has materialized with the search for a foreign partner, apart from a few “courtesy meetings” with visiting foreign experts and company representatives in the past two years.




He said the prospect of the project largely depends on the decision of the government after the submission by the Department of Energy (DoE) and the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute of their position paper to the Office of the President through the Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization, the group tasked to come up with the country’s nuclear policy.

Mr. Loong said he was also awaiting enactment of a law forming a nuclear regulatory body.

“We are hopeful that there will be a favorable decision soon,” he said.

The DoE has hired the Social Weather Stations to conduct a “perception” survey on nuclear energy in the Philippines.

“[It’s] anything related [to] nuclear,” DoE Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos told reporters on Friday last week, even as he declined to give details because of a non-disclosure agreement.

Mr. Marcos said results of the survey will be presented to the Cabinet, which will decide whether to go ahead with development of nuclear energy.

In the meantime, Sulu Sea Energy — a company established by entrepreneurs based in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi who aim to develop indigenous energy sources — is placing its capital on a couple of areas in the Philippines for oil and gas exploration.

On Friday, the company’s bid for an exploration service contract covering an area within the Sulu Sea Basin was opened by the DoE.

No one came forward to challenge its unsolicited proposal.

Mr Loong said Sulu Sea Energy, whose founders and stockholders are the owners of local mining companies based in Tawi-Tawi, is also awaiting results of its unsolicited proposal to work in a separate exploration area. — Victor V. Saulon

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