BNPP needs further studies in compliance with nuke policy

Cusi: Chinese gov’t to help assess BNPP operations

In compliance with the recently signed Nuclear Energy Program (NEP), the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is currently undergoing studies to help determine the next steps to take, the Climate Change Commission (CCC). 

In a BusinessWorld report, CCC Policy Research and Development Division Chief Jerome Ilagan said that they are engaging with local experts and other national agencies to ensure the appropriate policy is in accordance with scientific opinion. 

The NEP, which was signed by outgoing Pres. Rodrigo Duterte through Executive Order 164, has allowed nuclear power to be tapped as a “viable baseload power source along with alternative energy sources.” 

Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Policy and Planning Bureau officer-in-charge and director Michael Sinocruz said that the NEP triggered studies in the development of small modular reactors (SMRs) with a 50-megawatt (MW) capacity.

Just last March, the country signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States to explore the development of SMRs in the island provinces. Outgoing energy secretary Alfonso Cusi said that SMRs are viable in the country with its “size and relative transportability, ability to provide non-intermittent power supply and low carbon footprint.” 

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian also said in a Power Podcast episode that the country should use new technologies like SMRs instead of reopening the BNPP. 

Sinocruz added that while nuclear power is among the cheapest energy sources, a significant spending amount is needed to assure its safety. 

President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recently revealed that experts from South Korea have visited the BNPP to determine if it could be revived or not. 

SMRs, as defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency, are “advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300MW, which is about one-third of traditional nuclear power reactors.”