As discussions rise within the government, the Diocese of Balanga, led by Bishop Ruperto Cruz Santos, has spoken against the idea of reviving the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
“It is said that due to the lack of electricity or the increase in oil price, there are those who are, once again, advancing the rehabilitation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. The Diocese of Balanga has already spoken. This is not right nor is it good,” Bishop Cruz said in his Pastoral letter dated January 15.
In the letter posted by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), it said that “while nuclear power is cheap to operate and produces inexpensive fuel, the cost to build and maintain the facility are exorbitant.”
The letter also cited the 2018 findings of Russia’s State AtomicEnergy Corporation (ROSATOM) wherein it declared that the revival of the BNPP is “not possible at all” and that the plant is “absolutely outdated.”
In August 2022, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. has filed a bill seeking the revival of the BNPP.
“I support the views and respect the plans of our clergy, our current local government officials, and the lay faithful of the Diocese of Balanga in Bataan. United with them, I speak and stand against the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and oppose the idea or planned continuation of the BNPP,” Bishop Cruz said in the letter.
The Department of Energy and Congress earlier said that they are exploring public-private partnerships or build-operate-transfer arrangements in order to deploy nuclear power technologies in the country.
The Marcos Administration is also in talks with experts from South Korea on the possible revival of the BNPP.
Following former Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Executive Order 164 or the Nuclear Energy Program (NEP), the Department of Energy said that the new administration would need around three years to deploy nuclear projects in the country.