THE Department of Energy (DoE) has not given up on its goal of making nuclear energy one of the country’s power sources despite Malacañang’s recent directive for government agencies to focus on projects that can be completed by 2022.

Kailangan simulan na ngayon (It has to be started now),” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi told reporters last week after an energy event at the agency’s office in Taguig City.

He said the start of a nuclear plant is “at least” what he wanted to happen before the end of the current administration’s term in about two years.

“Even the plants that we are doing, even the coal (facilities), will not be realized within this administration — but we are preparing that for the 2024, 2027, 2030 (power supply requirement),” he said.

He said holding off the DoE’s nuclear initiative would mean abandoning a possible source of energy should the next administration decide to sit on the program. He said the gestation period in building a nuclear power plant is long, making it necessary to act now.

He said he would devote the remaining years of his term to strengthen the energy sector to “serve the Filipino better.”

“We’re looking at the 2030 requirement,” he said or even earlier by 2024 to build up power facilities to meet the country’s future energy needs.

Mr. Cusi said the DoE continues to await the signing by the Office of the President of the country’s national position on nuclear power, which the department prepared.

“The President has been discerning what is really good. So pinag-aaralan natin (So we are studying it),” he said.

He said should Malacañang approve the DoE’s pro-nuclear policy, then the department will go to Congress to seek a legal framework to support the national position.

Ito namang nuclear, hindi namannecessary ngayon (Nuclear is not necessary now). But we need this for our energy security for the future,” he said, citing the country’s vulnerability to the prices of imported oil and the impact of climate change. — Victor V. Saulon