Senate Committee on Energy chairman Sherwin Gatchalian stressed the need for the Philippines to come up with a nuclear energy policy study and heavy research in tapping nuclear power in the country.
Gatchalian said there is a need for an in-depth study that will analyze the framework of nuclear energy as a power source for the country. He added that he will sponsor a resolution to jumpstart this study.
“I’m thinking of filing a resolution, or maybe a bill to empower the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) by funding it to conduct in-depth research and analysis of the industry. This is to study the nuclear power as a source. We’re not saying we’re doing it immediately,” Gatchalian said.
The study will identify if the Philippines is suitable for nuclear energy, the supply of uranium, and if the country is capable in running this type of plant, he said.
“This research may take years, maybe one to two years. But what’s important is the study will point out whether the Philippines can use nuclear energy or not,” he said.
The senator also added that the Senate can fund the research and policy making, including supplementing other laws or form new laws to support it.
The committee is set to discuss the funding with the Department of Energy (DOE), Gatchalian added.
“But of course, initiation should come from the DOE. But I think it would be better if both legislative and executive will work from the start.”
A week ago, Gatchalian and other committee members and congressmen visited the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to help determine whether it’s feasible to fire up the 30 – year old 620-megawatt plant in Morong, Bataan.
Senator Nancy Binay has also urged DOE to set a clear policy direction for nuclear power in the country.
DOE secretary Alfonso Cusi said that the department will form a body for the nuclear policy which will include DOE, National Power Corp., Philippine Nuclear Research Institute and other stakeholders for a nuclear energy policy. It will also tackle the possible revival of the BNPP.