By Myrna M. Velasco
Amid delays in the final policy formulation on a nuclear renaissance pathway, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has fanned the flames anew for this technology to be part of the country’s energy future.
In reigniting this energy planning direction, the energy chief said “the government will continue to apply a calculated and scientific approach in evaluating the feasibility of nuclear energy for power generation.”
He specified that once this technology approach is concretized, “the nuclear policy of the country will be comprehensive and sound, especially in terms of safety.”
Nevertheless, Cusi is aware of the fact that the country still has massive hurdles to wade through before it could dangle nuclear as a long-term option for the nation’s energy needs.
He cited anew the 19 critical concerns that no less than the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has prescribed to be addressed and heeded to guarantee that a country’s plunge into nuclear ambition would be out of harm’s way.
In particular, this shall take off from the crafting of a national position – which the Department of Energy (DOE) has already completed and is now up for approval by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The others would delve on nuclear safety, management, funding and financing, legislative framework, safeguards, regulatory framework, radiation protection, electrical grid, human resources development, stakeholder involvement, site and supporting facilities, environmental protection, emergency planning, security and physical protection, nuclear fuel cycle, radioactive waste, industrial involvement and procurement.
The energy department has reiterated that while nuclear is still at a continuing study phase, the country somehow is getting headway as to opening its doors to nuclear power option – essentially equating it as a component of the country’s path to industrialization.
Nuclear energy has always been viewed as a long-term option for power generation that will provide supply security, stability and reliability.
The energy official added “should this be the path that the country will take, nuclear further diversifies our existing generation mix comprised of coal, natural gas, geothermal, hydropower, oil, wind, biomass and solar.”
The country though is still seriously studying its renewed investment take into nuclear – but with the recurring issues ranging from public acceptance to safety as well as radioactive-based security concerns, it is apparent that its way forward into this is still long and debatable.
The department admitted that nuclear power development goes beyond just project setting up, rather, “there must be a security culture practiced and a system well in place.”
As explained, such “culture of safety” must be enshrined not just across the entire chain of nuclear power operations, but also at all levels of the project company’s management and staff – as anchored on the definition set out by the International Atomic Energy Agency.