The Philippine government should first pass a law before pushing for the construction of nuclear power plants in the country, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel said on Tuesday.
“Wala po tayong problema dyan (We don’t have a problem with that) but because of the huge expenditure involved, plus the controversial nature of the decision, I believe we need a law to be in place before we can pursue a nuclearization of our energy sector,” Pimentel said during the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Summit.
The senate president said that one alternative to fossil fuel is nuclear energy.
“Nuclear power offers so much potential. Many countries have benefited from it,” he said. However, Pimentel reminded that it can have “very serious negative consequences, especially in a country located in what is called the Pacific Ring of Fire.”
“Our conclusions must be based on scientific evidence and not on political or ideological considerations,” he said, saying that the Philippines should be careful in studying the prospects of nuclear energy.
In the conference, Pimentel clarified that the Philippine Constitution only prohibits nuclear weapons.
“This conference is about civil or civilian use, peaceful use of nuclear power in the form of nuclear energy producing power like electricity,” he said.
Nuclear energy has long been an issue in the Philippines. The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant has been mothballed since its construction in 1976 due to safety issues involving its location that was said to be near a fault line and Mount Pinatubo.
The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice is one of the environmental groups opposing the idea of nuclear in the country.
“Nuclear energy while it is not a major contributor to climate change poses more danger to humanity than any kind of calamity or disaster known,” the environmental group said in a statement.