Although shunned by President Duterte himself, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that nuclear energy is a viable power source for the country’s baseload requirements in moving forward.
The Department of Energy (DOE) will still look at all energy options – including nuclear energy – in the country to assure adequate and reliable power supply, Cusi said.
“We’ll always look at all options available. That’s what I’ve been saying from the very beginning. All power sources will be looked at without bias, that’s our job,” he said.
President Duterte recently rejected the idea of using nuclear energy as the country’s power source.
“Maybe someday [but] not during my presidency,” Duterte said. But, the president said that the Congress and other sectors should thoroughly study nuclear power.
For Cusi, however, Duterte meant that there are still things to consider before going nuclear.
“As you’ve read from the interview, the door is not closed for nuclear. What he wants is to look into it. We need to provide the necessary information,” the secretary said.
The use of nuclear energy is included in the updated Philippine Energy Plan the energy department is currently polishing.
“We’re doing a 15-year plan, [and then] up to 2040. We’re looking at it on the basis of assumption of 7 percent GDP (gross domestic product), population [growth] of 1.8 percent. All of those will be factored in and from there, we will build up the power requirements,” Cusi said.
DOE recently issued an order creating the Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO) that is aimed to unify the conduct of studies and research on nuclear energy development.
NEPIO is set to work in three phases: a comprehensive study on the country’s energy needs that will lead to a policy decision on nuclear; preparatory work for nuclear power plant construction; and implementation activities on the said power facility.