Nuclear plant won't solve energy crisis in power hungry Philippines: AGHAM

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·2 min read
This photo taken on April 5, 2022 shows a security guard standing at the main gate of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in the town of Morong in Bataan province, north of Manila. - The nuclear power plant built in the disaster-prone Philippines during Ferdinand Marcos's regime, but never switched on due to safety fears and corruption, could be revived if his son wins the May 9 presidential poll. (Photo by TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)
This photo taken on April 5, 2022 shows a security guard standing at the main gate of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in the town of Morong in Bataan province, north of Manila. - The nuclear power plant built in the disaster-prone Philippines during Ferdinand Marcos's regime, but never switched on due to safety fears and corruption, could be revived if his son wins the May 9 presidential poll. (Photo by TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

A scientist group has debunked President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s claim that the moth-balled Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) would solve the Philippines’ energy crisis.

In a statement on Tuesday (May 31), AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology said that the current energy crisis is a result of privatization and deregulation of the country’s energy facilities, which led to increased electricity costs and unstable power supply.

“The liberalization of the energy industry through the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) allows private corporations to build and operate power facilities while, and allow these companies to recover their capital and enjoy big profits by charging consumers.” the statement read.

The group said that prerequisite costs to operate the BNPP such as nuclear tax, recommissioning and waste disposal costs, would be charged to consumers if the nuclear plant is pursued.

It also noted that by singling out the nuclear technology as a means to address the power crisis, Marcos Jr. denies that the BNPP is already “antiquated, faulty, dangerous, and has served s milking cow for corrupt practices.”

A feasibility study conducted by the Korea Electric Power Corp. found that the BNPP could be rehabilitated in four to five years at an estimated cost of around $1 billion.

However, while the Philippines has already paid $2.1 billion for the construction of the reactor in 1984, the BNPP still failed to enter operation, weighing down on taxpayers without them benefitting from the project.

AGHAM noted that in its analysis, power supply in the country is still sufficient and the power shortage is onlyused as justification to reestablish the BNPP.

“In 2020, the country has an installed capacity of 26,250 megawatts with a dependable capacity of 23,410 MW, while the peak demand is just 15,282 MW in the same period,” the group said, noting that there is enough supply in the coming years.

“If we want energy sufficiency in the coming decades, we need to harness our own indigenous energy resources and move away from imported, dirty, and dangerous fuels such as coal and nuclear,” it added.

The advocacy group reaffirmed that there are other sustainable, safe, accessible, affordable and reliable energy options to address the expected power demand of the country.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.

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