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Friday, February 23, 2018

DOE starts crafting PH nuclear power plans

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By Myrna M. Velasco

Underpinned by a technical assistance from the Russian Federation State Atomic Energy Cooperation (ROSATOM), the Department of Energy (DOE) announced it is now well on its way into crafting plans for the country’s nuclear power ambitions.

The department, in a press statement, has noted that the Philippines is now affirmatively taking “the option of adopting nuclear energy.”

According to Energy Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos, “the inclusion of nuclear energy as a potential long-term option for power generation will further diversify the nation’s generation mix.” This will supplement the current technology leanings of the country’s power sector, which are anchored chiefly on coal, natural gas, oil and renewable energy resources including the conventional geothermal and hydropower technologies.

ROSATOM also submitted its pre-feasibility study and assessment of the country’s Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), but the DOE is not yet  making public the outcome of that exercise.

On forward nuclear development, the department indicated that part of the preparatory steps to nuclear energy planning has been the technical workshops that the DOE and other relevant agencies have been undertaking, with the help of the Russian nuclear energy firm.

The DOE noted that the workshop last week touched on “integrated solutions” on new and emerging nuclear technologies, capacity-building as well as “inputs in the formulation of policies addressing safety, technology development and other uses of nuclear energy.”

Discussions similarly centered on knowledge-sharing in building, operation and maintaining a nuclear power plant as well as the introduction of modular nuclear technologies which could also be ably provided by Russia.

There had also been exchange of views in the importance of institutionalizing centers of nuclear science and technologies; and the advancing foray of nuclear science into the medical field.

The Philippines should have been way ahead on its nuclear power ambitions, but when the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was mothballed in the 1980s, that energy plan turned into shambles.

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