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Cusi gets Duterte permission to repower Bataan nuclear plant


By Myrna M. Velasco


Batangas City – Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has secured the go-signal of President Rodrigo Duterte to go ahead with the firming up of plans on the repowering of the mothballed 620-megawatt Bataan nuclear power plant.

“I asked for clearance that I proceed,” he said, when asked by media how he was able to convince the President to reverse his earlier stand on nuclear power strategy for the country, and primarily to revive the BNPP into final commercial operations.

“Once and for all, we have to put closure to this BNPP… it cannot just be there and spending millions of pesos – it’s either we convert it for our use or not, the property is just being wasted,” Cusi stressed.

On his ardent wish to really repower the BNPP, Cusi noted that “the President has spoken and after he has spoken I talked to him and made clarifications and sought clearance that I proceed to work for its implementation and full operation.”

He added “I’d like the BNPP to really operate, of course, there are different views and we are ready to listen to that.” Previous number crunching placed the cost of repowering the idled nuclear plant at $1.0 billion.

Cusi qualified that “he (Duterte) did not change his mind,” adding that “I explained to him what the country needs…at the department that’s our responsibility, we have to look at it as to what the future of the country is – because energy development is going nuclear.”

The scheme being considered by the Department on Energy (DOE) for BNPP getting on stream will either be government-to-government (GTG) partnership or private sector undertaking.

The strategic partner, which could either be private investor or state-run firm of other country, will do the retrofit as well as operations of the BNPP in case the final decision will be to have it rolled into commercial operations.

“Our government now does not have competence, our competence, our demand resource is not in that sector – we have to develop that,” he said.

The energy chief admitted that he was nonetheless cautioned on the safety and security concerns thrown against nuclear power, hence, they want that fleshed out in their ongoing studies.

“Right now, we are doing all the administrative papers and then the roadmap – Undersecretary (Donato) Marcos has all the details and everything, orders, plan, etc,” he said.

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  • Gisingbayanko

    In other words, conduct another feasibility study but not necessarily use nuclear energy to generate electrical power.

  • Na Me

    This is interesting, important challenge – great potential for catastrophic failures, but success could also pave the way for more capability and productivity.

    Verify everything, publish the studies and plans: the scope, tech and economics; the people handling, the providers. There are methods for these. Expect and submit to technical audits and challenges.

    Apply world lessons learned, the state of the technologies, the development of competencies to secure the tasks under all contingencies and human factors, pinoy- character factors(compare to a japanese, chinese or say german worker for example), etc.

    It is worthwhile, we have to learn and try to catch up with everyone else.

  • Say_Thank_You

    There is no way that the government is spending too much on that BNPP without the people getting anything from it. Let’s go nuclear. It has been long awaited. We have too much talent to work on that nuclear career of the country.

    • Edgar Samonte

      I am just hoping that Cusi and his people will really take care also of the Filipino people’s concern about nuclear power – it’s a good alternative when prudence is carefully exercised in its implementation.

  • Lupo

    Let’s bring back the pride of our country. We used to have nuclear scientists but instead of using them for the benefit of our nation, they were pirated by other countries.

    The oil in middle east is also running low. If we don’t go nuclear now we will end up experiencing power outages again. Even worst, we already have the highest electricity bill in our region. Instead of building factories in our country that should have produced jobs, the companies are building elsewhere because of electric costs.

    • trish2010

      Nuclear is a good long term energy strategy for any country, it is a future that we can’t escape, but should be done with caution.

  • lmo1030

    The decision by late ex-pres. Cory Aquino to mothball BNPP in early 80’s to me was a big mistake. It was close to being made operational at the time People Power toppled Marcos whose vision to harness nuclear power as alternative energy source was thought to be the best solution to address energy supply insufficiency during that period. The government spent a lot to build BNPP and still paying a substantial amount for its upkeep.

    It is about time BNPP be made useful after due technical and safety vetting process are done by local and foreign experts in the field of nuclear power system.

    • EnergyWarriors

      Yes, and the Filipino people paid too much for that during the power crisis of the 1990s.

    • Edgar Samonte

      Good points raised here

    • Dread


  • EnergyWarriors

    At least finally there’s a way for us to see if this really works or not!

  • Edgar Samonte

    It was a wrong decision of Cory Aquino just for political vendetta and the people from it. The government spent $2B for BNPP and yet we got nothing out of it

  • trish2010

    After the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan, countries with nuclear power have been upgrading on their technology use, so one thing Cusi shall explain to the public is how safe the technology is still that will be used at the BNPP.

  • Home2099 Rada

    Kaya nga pinatayo ni Marcos yang BNPP kc magiging future alternative power natin yan,unang una tayo sa south east asia na nagtayo ng ganyan,bilyon dollar nasayang lang ng si cory ang umupo nagbabayad pa tayo ng interes dyan tapos wala naman tayong napapakinabangan,?bakit d nalang natin gamitin para naman magmura ang bill natin sa kuryente,iuupgrade naman yan pag tatakbo na para cguradong safe.

  • henry

    nothing against nuclear power plant but…

    hey are u sure DO DIRTY gave his blessing on the nuclear power plant ? I cant believe this. ITS MADE BY USA WESTINGHOUSE !! This guy wants everything to come from COMMUNIST CHINA AND RUSSIA. Maybe they are now kissing together with Donald T.

    • EnergyWarriors

      DU30 changes his mind and statements every so often, so let us wait and see!!

    • Dread

      what a yellow

      • henry

        no its blue are u red ?

  • underthePhilippineSun

    GO FOR NUCLEAR…… hope mr. cusi have a proper program for the bnpp – from carefully studying, planning, implementation and post-production procedures..

    if properly done, Filipinos will have a better benefit….

  • vg

    It is very good to see what it will take to bring the BNPP on line and produce electricity. After they compare the pros and cons, they can make a good decision to start it up or to tear it down completely. I like the idea that are going to study and then act. At least DU30 won’t ignore what has to be done.