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Nuclear power plants are “cancer factories,” and the Philippines is better off growing its renewable energy industry, according to Helen Mary Caldicott, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament.

In this B-Side episode, she talks to reporter Alyssa Nicole O. Tan about the health risks and financial costs of pursuing nuclear energy.

“As we put (radioactive waste) in the Earth…, the containers that hold radioactive elements will rust, break, and the radiation and elements will leak into the water supply,” thereby affecting the food chain, Ms. Caldicott said.

“It only takes one beta particle, an electron, or gamma radiation to kill you,” she added.

The 621-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was constructed by the Marcos, Sr. administration as a response to the 1973 oil crisis. Completed in 1984 at a cost of $1.9 billion, it was never loaded with fuel or operated due to financial issues and safety concerns.

For Ms. Caldicott, the Philippines should prioritize the use of renewable energy.

“You are one of the hottest countries in the world, so why don’t you cover all your buildings with solar panels and make solar farms so that huge areas of the country are covered with solar panels,” she said.

“You don’t want to increase the incidence of cancer in your country…,” she added. “Nuclear power plants are antithetical to the sanctity of life.”

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